Editorial: The cost of free speech
There are a couple of things that could have prevented the mountain that arose from the molehill at the Port Richmond school where 16-year-old Samantha Pawlucy got in big trouble — trouble with a capital T — when she arrived at school wearing a T-shirt promoting Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan:
1. Samantha could have kept her political views at home, where they belong.
2. Her teacher, Lynette Gaymon, could have kept her political views at home, where they belong.
Neither of those things happened, however, and now America’s cradle of liberty is left with yet another “teachable moment” in history.
Yes, Samantha was well within her First Amendment right to free speech by letting the world know she thinks Romney and Ryan are cool guys worthy of leading America, but was it really necessary to do it at school?
Yes, Ms. Gaymon had the right to call Samantha out on it, but was it really necessary to embarrass the girl, compare her T-shirt to a KKK shirt, and make much ado about nothing at what she called a “Democratic” school?
The School District of Philadelphia should learn a lesson from this completely unnecessary incident by immediately ending “dress down days” and getting back to strict enforcement of a school uniform policy for all students in all grades on all school days at all schools. Fridays are every bit as important as Mondays through Thursdays. Students should be free of all distractions every day.
Anything less than a standard school uniform brings potential distraction to the classroom, particularly because kids will be kids — even those who yearn to vote.
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