Predictably, Karen Heller Downplays Romney T-Shirt Intolerance

by Christopher Paslay

Instead of speaking out against political intolerance, Karen Heller blows smoke.

In an article headlined “Romney T-shirt episode offers ‘teachable moment’—for parents and teachers,” Inquirer columnist Karen Heller goes out of her way to show us that she is taking the high road by refusing to pass judgment—and explains how our city can turn what amounted to nothing more than a bad joke gone awry into a feel good lesson on “political differences.”

Before I analyze Heller’s commentary further, allow me to recount the bad joke.  A week-and-a-half ago, Charles Carroll High School sophomore Samantha Pawlucy and her sister, who are White, wore Romney/Ryan T-shirts to school on dress-down day.  Allegedly, Samantha’s younger sister was heckled by classmates for the shirt.  Samantha herself was also allegedly heckled—by her African American geometry teacher whose inappropriate joking embarrassed and humiliated her.

According to the Inquirer:

Samantha Pawlucy, a sophomore at Carroll, said her geometry teacher publicly humiliated her Friday by asking why she was wearing a Romney/Ryan T-shirt and going into the hallway to urge other teachers and students to mock her. . . .

Samantha Pawlucy said that after going into the hall, her teacher called into the classroom a nonteaching assistant who tried to write on the T-shirt with a marker. She allegedly told the teen to remove her shirt and said she would be given another.

Pawlucy said her teacher told her that Carroll was a “Democratic school” and that wearing a Republican shirt was akin to the teacher, who is black, wearing a KKK shirt.

But it is, as Heller reminds us, a “teachable moment.”  And Heller does give us a lecture, and a predictable one at that.  Heller’s feel good can’t-we-all-just-get-along drivel begins not with a condemnation of the Black geometry teacher’s intolerance (Heller amazingly makes no attempt whatsoever to chastise the inappropriate behavior of the teacher), but instead talks of how the incident will affect the decisions of Republican state legislators (who, by the way, are the oppressive S.O.B.’s who try to keep poor people from voting because they, low and behold, ask for proof of identity):

The only silver lining is that the budget won’t be debated until spring. By that time, perhaps Republicans—the same ones who attempted to disenfranchise Philadelphia through voter ID—will have forgotten this mess.

(And we wonder why Samantha Pawlucy and her sister were ridiculed by classmates and teachers.)

Oddly, Heller goes on to make the case that Philadelphia is really more politically diverse than people realize:

Many years and several election cycles ago, I spoke to my son’s class in a different Philadelphia school about how the country was getting a new president that month, George W. Bush. Many students—first graders, mind you—booed. No, I reminded them, there are children here whose families are Republican. (See, there’s more political diversity than people believe.)

A little later, Heller goes into the politics of Richard Pawlucy, Samantha’s father, and appears to insinuate that he lacks the experience to engage in a political fight akin to the one he’s waging on behalf of his young daughter:

Richard Pawlucy tells me he has never voted before, which makes him an improbable participant in a political fight. A field engineer raised in Port Richmond, he registered only a few weeks ago.

Heller ends her piece with a feel good update about Samantha’s Facebook status:

The school incident is still under investigation. Samantha returns to class Tuesday. The school has assured the family that the students would not harass her. In the meantime, Samantha updated her Facebook status with an “(R).”

Heller’s article is indeed a teachable moment—about double standards and the hypocrisy of a liberal media with zero principles.  For those who disagree, ask yourself this question: Would Heller have written the same feel good “teachable moment” article if a White teacher jokingly humiliated a Black student for wearing an Obama T-shirt and equated the shirt with, say, lazy Black welfare recipients?

Somehow I doubt it.

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2 Comments

Filed under Free Speech

2 responses to “Predictably, Karen Heller Downplays Romney T-Shirt Intolerance

  1. S. N. E.

    As far as I am concerned, the family needs to file a charge against the teacher/ SDP for humiliating their children. This is in the Code of Ethics of the School District of Philadelphia. And the SRC, as the officiating body for this decision, needs to hold the teachers and their principal accountable for the treatment of the children in the school.
    I suggest that the parents look to have their children transferred as they are now known throughout the school for this incident and children are impressionable.Their school year has now been tainted. And YES, a teachable moment it was. For students to see their adult teachers and staff members demonstrate that open RACISM is OK in a school and in front of everyone.
    If the school district does not do anything, I think that the families should indeed hire a lawyer and proceed. Because sometimes it takes $$$$ to make people listen..not logical conversation. I am appalled that a teacher would do such a thing in front of kids. !..I am for Obama, but it is a persons right to express who they want and if we are back in the stone age or children can’t feel safe from bullying from THEIR TEACHER…SHAME ON THE TEACHER. THIS WAS NOT A JOKE TO A CHILD. IT WAS OPEN HUMILIATION WHICH COULD EFFECT THEM FOR YEARS. THESE JOKES CANNOT OCCUR IN SCHOOL. If Arlene Ackerman were the Superintendent, you can bet she would remove the staff that caused the issues. She had NO trouble removing people who were NOT SUITED for the SDP. That’s why they paid her to leave. She was just about to cut the BIG SHOTS!!!!!

  2. John

    Well said. It’s not a political issue although some have attempted to paint it as one. It’s a First Amendment and Bullying issue. It’s good to see some people with some sense. Since when is it not okay to disagree with somebody politically??

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