A Fairfax County high school teacher sued the school system yesterday for $350,000, contending that he was unfairly denied a pay raise because he sent a "satirical" letter to a student newspaper.

The lawsuit filed by Donald Seemuller, a physical education teacher at Lake Braddock High School, argues that school officials "willfully deprived" him of his "constitutional rights to freedom of speech and due process" after they objected to a letter he wrote to the high school paper last December.

Seemuller's letter responded to a charge by an anonymous student that physical education teachers at Lake Braddock were sexist. Seemuller wrote that "I like girls . . . . My wife is an adequate cook and housekeeper . . . {and} also does light yard work, enabling me to play golf and pursue other masculine activities."

He later wrote that the letter was "satirical in nature" and apologized to anyone who was offended. The suit contends that Lake Braddock Principal George Step notified Seemuller that because of the letter he would be given a "needs improvement" rating on his next evaluation and that a pay raise would be withheld. Seemuller filed a grievance, according to the suit, and he lost.

The suit names Step, School Superintendent Robert R. Spillane and members of the county School Board as defendants. They have not replied to the charges.