Pelham superintendent bans staff from wearing sweatshirt with name of officer who died in line of duty
The controversy over political messages continues in the Pelham Union Free School District after the superintendent's decision not to allow staff to wear a sweatshirt with the name of a police officer who died in the line of duty.
Carla Caccavale's father was a transit detective who was fatally shot in 1976 when she was 20 days old.
She is blasting Pelham School Superintendent Cheryl Champ for banning a pro-police sweatshirt created in honor of her father.
Caccavale says it is a memorial sweatshirt and not political. She says the superintendent has "made it personal by inserting her personal, political opinion."
The sweatshirt ban is the latest in a string of events causing tension in the Pelham school district.
Superintendent Cheryl Champ originally allowed Black Lives Matter shirts to be worn by both students and staff, while at the same time banning staff from wearing masks and sweatshirts in support of the police, saying the symbolism "was threatening in nature."
After receiving a row of complaints from parents, the superintendent reversed her decision, disallowing staff from both symbols in order to be fair in implementing the policy, but for Caccavale and much of the police community behind her, that isn't enough.
"She needs to create a support group for the law enforcement families in this district who are now feeling incredibly threatened by the stance she took and what she came out and did and said," says Caccavale.
This past weekend, the school board sent out a statement to the community asking to clarify the chain of events, saying they were based on students' concerns - not political preferences.
The statement ended saying, "going forward, the policy would include any speech, clothing or symbols that could be construed as political." It fell short of providing the answers much of the police community demands.
The school board is meeting this Wednesday to further discuss the issue. Superintendent Cheryl Champ would not add further comment.