The daughter of a police detective who was killed in the mid-1970s is demanding that officials at a New York school district apologize for banning sweatshirts featuring “Thin Blue Line” flags to honor her dad.
According to Carla Caccavale, her father — Transit Police Detective George Caccavale — was gunned down in 1976 when she was only 20-days old. The sweatshirts were emblazoned with the flag patch and other symbology in honor of him, but the Pelham school district banned the shirts after deeming the symbol “political.”
And yet, she told Fox News, the district allowed staffers to wear gear with “Black Lives Matter” messaging.
“The staff was allowed to wear one and not the other, and now it’s hard for me to explain to my children, who are used to seeing the staff wear it on Friday, why a sweatshirt honoring their grandfather is no longer allowed,” she told Fox & Friends Tuesday.
“We are continuing our fight. We would like to see a more formal apology to say that, well, now both are banned. You should be happy is not enough,” she continued.
“To make such a broad sweeping decision and make such a huge misstep when you are running the district, in charge of educating an entire district, is incredible, and as educators, they should be able to look at all four symbols on this sweatshirt in the context in which they were intended,” Caccavale added.
Caccavale said that Dr. Cheryl Champ, the superintendent of Pelham Public Schools, asked staff to stop wearing Thin Blue Line masks and, eventually, the sweatshirts as well, but allowed staff to wear shirts saying “Vote” and displaying the names of minorities who died in police-related incidents, up until Election Day.
“That’s the problem here,” said Caccavale. “It wasn’t until after the election that she sent an email out saying she realized her decision was not fairly balanced and now it would all be banned.”
Caccavale said she was told by some staffers, that school officials told them the Thin Blue Line flags are symbols of white supremacy.
“However, the communication that went out from the district said that children expressed concern and, if that is the case, this would’ve been a teachable moment instead of dividing our town,” Caccavale told Fox & Friends.
“We’re a very, very small town that now is incredibly divided over this. And there was an opportunity here to bridge instead of burning down the bridge to help this.”
Meanwhile, Pelham Public Schools officials have issued a statement saying the flag-attire decision was part of a “long-standing policy” with regards to the limits of political activities in the school environment and is working to implement it consistently.
“We have never wavered in our support for law enforcement, especially our local police, and appreciate all that they do to keep us safe,” the statement added.
Caccavale countered by saying she created the sweatshirt and it was never meant to be a political statement. She also said her community loved the creation and asked for a version of their own to sell, with proceeds going to families of fallen NYPD officers, as well as the Retired Police Canine Foundation.
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