October 12, 2012: Samantha Pawlucy holds up the shirt she wore to school last week. A popular teacher chastised her first and then students bullied her to the point that her family ended up transferring her to another school.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called Samantha Pawlucy, the Philly teen who was chastised first by her teacher and then fellow students for wearing a Romney-Ryan T-shirt to school. But she wasn't home.
Romney called the teen late Wednesday, which is the same day the Pawlucys pulled all three of their kids out of the school because of the controversy. Romney wanted to thank Samantha for standing up for herself. Her parents were expecting the call, but her dad said it slipped his mind and he didn't get her home in time. Her mom ended up talking to Romney and said it was like "talking to a neighbor"
The ordeal made national headlines last week when Samantha, 16, wore a pink Romney-Ryan shirt to Charles Carroll High School. Her geometry teacher, Lynette Gaymon, "told me to get out of the classroom," Samantha told NBC10. "She told me to take off my shirt and said that she has another one if I need one. And then the teacher asked me...'are your parents Republican?' I said, 'I don't know.' She said, 'That's like wearing a KKK shirt.' "
In the days following the incident, Samantha said she was bullied by other students and told her parents she didn't want to go back to school because she felt humiliated. Last Friday, her parents went to the school to file a formal complaint against the popular teacher, and as they were leaving, students taunted them through school windows.
Gaymon apologized to the family and said her comment was meant as a joke.
"It was funny to her, but I was really embarrassed," Samantha said.
This Tuesday, Samantha returned to school. Supporters gathered around her and cheered her on and she thanked them for coming out. She left mid-morning though, saying she felt uncomfortable. On that same day, the teacher sent a letter to students apologizing for all the chaos and admonishing some of their behavior:
"Because I have always encouraged you to resolve your differences through conversation, I'm very disturbed by the negative and hateful words and messages that have been directed at Sam Pawlucy. The bullying of Sam -- on Facebook, Twitter, or otherwise -- has to stop."
The district is investigating Gaymon's actions.