A New York school district forbids employees from wearing a sweatshirt featuring a thin blue line patch honoring a killed NYPD officer.
Cheryl Champ, the superintendent of the Pelham Public School, wrote to the school staff that the flag is banned because the students feel unsafe.
The sweatshirt was designed by the daughter of Transit Police Detective George Caccavale, who was shot dead in 1976. She sold the designs to raise and collect money for police; later, the K9 dog was named Vale in tribute to her father.
Cheryl Champ sent another mail, where she wrote that the face masks with the thin blue line patch are also banned. In her initial mail, she didn’t mention any other ban focusing on other movements.
The 44-year-old Carla Caccavale, the designer of the sweatshirts, said that she is not into politics at all, and it was always about honoring her father.
Carla was 20 days old when her 30 years old father died. Carla also mentioned that this is not Black Lives Matter versus police; this was never the goal when they created the sweatshirt.
Following first mail, on the 3rd of November, Cheryl Champ told the employees on a follow-up note that she recognizes in these heightened political times, these decisions have become involved and recognized by some to reflect a political leaning on behalf of herself and the district.
She continued, “Like many symbols whose meaning has been co-opted over time, the thin blue line flag has increasingly been perceived by students to be threatening in nature, causing them to feel unsafe within our schools.”
However, after Paul DiGiacomo, the president of the NYPD detectives union, raised objections about the ban, Champ changed her statement.
She wrote that the decisions which were made last week did not evenly support our ideals of political neutrality.
After that, she told the employees that they should not wear any clothing that can be presumed political, including support for social movements. Despite that, students are not included in the ban.