Marybeth Hicks
The mission statement of Philadelphia's Charles Carroll High School, displayed prominently on its website, offers a hopeful vision of an educational institution:

“Providing all students with the academic, technological & social skills needed to be productive & contributing citizens in our society.”

This week, the specific mention of “social skills” and citizenship likely sounds like mockery to Charles Carroll sophomore Samantha Pawlucy and her family.

In an episode that has prompted national attention, Samantha was the victim of intimidation by her geometry teacher, Lynette Gaymon, who claims to have been “joking” when she ridiculed the girl for wearing a Romney/Ryan T-shirt during the school's Sept. 28 dress-down day.

Suffice to say this isn’t the sort of interaction with a teacher that encourages students toward more competent social skills and productive citizenship.

The incident is unfolding as you might expect, given the divisiveness of our political climate — and given that it’s Philadelphia. After keeping their daughter home to allow her time to recover from the embarrassing encounter, her parents met with Ms. Gaymon and school administrators.

The teacher issued an apology, but Richard Pawlucy, Samantha’s father, said Ms. Gaymon’s apology didn’t ring sincere.

She maintained that she was only making a joke and said she was sorry that Samantha didn’t pick up on it. She wasn’t serious, she claimed, when she told the student to change into another shirt, or when she asked the girl whether her parents were Republicans, or when she declared that the school was “Democratic.”

Of course, she was just yukking it up when she told Samantha — in front of the entire class — that wearing a Romney/Ryan T-shirt was akin to wearing a Ku Klux Klan T-shirt.

Marybeth Hicks

Marybeth Hicks is the author of Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left's Assault on Our Families, Faith, and Freedom (Regnery Publishers, 2011).