Pelham, N.Y. schools care about the well-being of students, as reflected in the words of their superintendent:
“We have an obligation to provide a school environment where our students feel safe and respected, and are afforded every human dignity, and we have an obligation as a district to protect them from the presence of anything that may be contrary to that goal.”
That statement was in an e-mail by Dr. Cheryl Champ. She was talking about … a ban on sweatshirts that support the police.
According to the New York Daily News, the shirt was developed by Carla Caccavale to honor her police detective father, slain in a robbery by members of the Black Liberation Army in 1976. Throughout her life she has clung to the father she never got to know, and after the NYPD named one of its police dogs “Vale” in Detective Caccavale’s honor, she created a sweatshirt as a tribute to him, bearing the Thin Blue Line flag.
She initially had sweatshirts made for family and police officers, but they became so popular that she made more and sold them to raise money for local police charities.
Several members of the Pelham Memorial High School staff bought and wore the sweatshirts.
Which is where Superintendent Champ came in. Champ banned the shirts while apparently still permitting voting-related shirts bearing the names of black persons allegedly killed by police, and also permitting Black Lives Matter apparel.
After outcry, Champ was forced to modify her edict. In a subsequent e-mail to staff, she admitted “decisions made last week did not evenly support our ideals of political neutrality” and told them they should not wear any clothing that can be considered political speech, including support for candidates “and social movements such as those represented in our schools last week on T-shirts and masks.”