A Philadelphia high school teacher is under investigation after she reportedly ordered a student to take off a t-shirt supporting Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and compared the shirt to a Ku Klux Klan sheet.
The incident occurred at Charles Carroll High School in Port Richmond. When the student refused the order, she tried to throw the girl out of class.
Philadelphia School District spokesman Fernando Gallard confirmed to Philly.com that, “a teacher made some comments to a student wearing a Romney t-shirt in their classroom.”
“The comments were of a political nature, and also of a personal nature,” he told the newspaper. “We are looking into the comments, and the conduct of the teacher.”
Gallard said the student was well within her rights to wear the t-shirt and was not in violation of any school dress codes.
In the meantime, the teacher was switched out of the class “to allow the student to feel comfortable to come to the class.”
Gallard said the student was within her rights.
“She was expressing her freedom of speech, and was not in violation of any school or district policy,” he told the newspaper.
The incident became public when the child’s father called radio station IQ 106.9 FM.
Richard Pawlucy told radio host Larry Mendte that the incident happened on a day when students were allowed to “dress down.”
He recounted what his daughter’s Geometry teacher told the girl.
“Are you seriously wearing a Romney shirt — and then she told her to get out,” Pawlucy told the radio station. “My daughter took it as a joke. But the teacher left the room and called other teachers and students into her classroom.”
She said the teacher pointed at his daughter and said, “Look at this girl — wearing a Romney shirt.”
“My daughter refused to leave the classroom or acknowledge this bullying,” he said.
That’s when the teacher compared the Romney shirt to a KKK garb and told her, “This is a Democratic school.”
“I never knew a school had a party affiliation,” he said.
When his daughter went back to class she hid in the bathroom until the teacher left. He said other students were taunting her.
“Her classmates were telling her –‘how can you do this to our teacher?’” he recounted. “Why don’t you like Obama? We all like Obama – why don’t you like Obama?”
Mendte was astounded by the incident — especially since it happened in the city where they signed the U.S. Constitution.
“A child shouldn’t be bullied going into a classroom just because she’s politically aware — just because she has an opinion and just because she happens to support a candidate that you do not support,” Mendte said.