by Christopher Paslay
Lynette Gaymon’s letter takes no responsibility for her actions, and contains no apology to Samantha Pawlucy.
As a fellow Philadelphia public school teacher, I am disappointed by Lynette Gaymon’s handling of the Samantha Pawlucy incident. Regardless of how events unfolded that day in her class (Gaymon is not denying the fundamental facts), what Gaymon labels a “light and humorous remark” is nothing of the sort. From her “apology letter” it seems clear that Gaymon still doesn’t understand that her comments were grossly inappropriate.
Gaymon states in her letter:
My words were never meant to belittle Ms. Pawlucy, or cause any harm, and I truly regret that we have come to this point.
That might be true, but Gaymon doesn’t state that she truly regrets saying these words. Just as Gaymon never once in her letter says I’m sorry Samantha; incredibly, the “apology letter” isn’t even addressed to Samantha, but to the students of Carroll High School whom she calls “my babies.”
I don’t think I’m being unfair to Gaymon. There is a fundamental lack of personal responsibility in her letter, and nowhere in the letter does Gaymon admit wrongdoing. In fact, it almost seems as if Gaymon still believes that “all the chaos and negative attention” that has fallen on the school is the result of some sort of misunderstanding.
Again, Gaymon never comes out in the letter and says I’m sorry Samantha. I’m sorry for making fun of something that was important to you, for making a joke that spun out of control, for unintentionally humiliating and embarrassing you in front of your classmates and other teachers. I didn’t mean it Samantha, and I am sorry.
Nor does Gaymon apologize for stereotyping an entire group of people in front her students: She never says, I’m sorry that I equated all Republicans with racists. I’m sorry that I used a hate symbol—the KKK—as a reference to Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. This was unwarranted. Although we all may not agree with Republican policies, it’s hateful and intolerant to stereotype whole groups of people.
To her credit, Gaymon does call for solving problems civilly through debate and discussion, and she does call for a stop to the threats and violence being perpetrated against Samantha Pawlucy.
But Gaymon’s letter is hardly an apology to Samantha Pawlucy herself, and falls short of taking responsibility for the situation. Its vagueness and avoidance of the fundamental issues of stereotyping and intolerance are similar to the ways in which the local Philadelphia media dodged these same issues. Because of this, I truly wonder if Lynette Gaymon even knows that what she said was wrong, or if she just feels it was all a simple misunderstanding. If it’s the latter, Lynette Gaymon is unfit to be in the classroom.
To read Gaymon’s letter in its entirety, click here.
Update: Wally Zimolong, the attorney for the Pawlucy family, stated this morning on the Dom Giordano show that Lynette Gaymon was ready to give a personal apology to Samantha Pawlucy and accept wrong doing, but was given a prepared statement instead. Click here to listen to the interview.