PHILADELPHIA – Samantha Pawley, a 16-year-old student in the Philadelphia school district, became the focus of a lot of sympathy earlier this year when one of her teachers allegedly mocked and ridiculed her for wearing a Romney/Ryan t-shirt to class.

FreespeechzoneNow Pawley may have the last laugh. Her family has filed a lawsuit against the school district, claiming the teacher’s actions violated Pawley’s constitutional right to free speech, according to

The lawsuit also claims that the teacher and the district encouraged other students to mock Pawley, causing her emotional distress. The suit seeks unspecified damages, according to the news report.

This is an important lawsuit. The nation’s teachers unions have long been very open about their preference for liberal Democratic political candidates, and individual teachers frequently violate school policies by bringing their political views into the classroom.

Lynette Gaymon, the teacher who allegedly mocked Pawley, may have crossed the line by refusing to allow her student the fundamental right to express her views. We’ve apparently reached the point where some teachers not only feel comfortable campaigning for their favorite candidates at school, but are willing to use their power to muzzle opposing points of view.

The court should take a hard stand in this case and send a message to teachers in public schools everywhere: leave your political views at the door when you report to work in the morning.

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