Pelham village board, with public back, addresses debate over political symbols in schools


The Village of Pelham Board of Trustees met Tuesday with members of the public present for the first time since Covid-19 restrictions were imposed, addressing the debate in the community over the thin blue line flag and providing an update on the Pelham House downtown project. 

Deputy Mayor Pete Potocki backed Pelham Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ in the deep disagreement among residents over a school district policy banning apparel carrying the thin blue line flag and all other political symbols. Potocki said Champ was the “finest superintendent we have ever had” and that she was a “caring and wonderful person for the children in our district,” while he stressed that the retired police officers who serve as security monitors in the schools are some of the best and will keep children safe.

Representatives of Pelham House, the developer of a new municipal center for the Village of Pelham and an apartment building downtown, are still working with the board on paperwork and agreements and further plans will be discussed at the next meeting, said Mayor Chance Mullen. The board needs to approve the apportionment of village land for the project and decide the cost of the property it is contributing in the deal with Pelham House.

Among updates from board members were that the steering committee on police reforms has been meeting and will soon release a report on its efforts, while the village is working with other Westchester municipalities on the food scrap recycling project and has ordered materials. The trustees have formed a climate Smart communities task force that will launch in March 2021. Residents Sam Farrell, Lucia Lavallee and Ella Stern are serving on panel.

Gavin Fear, a Pelham Eagle Scout, donated more than $1,000 remaining from his Highbrook Highline project to fund future nature projects. Mullen commended Pelham residents Heidi Carey and Traci Young for their assistance in securing personal protection equipment (PPE) for the public, including Village of Pelham first responders and the school district. The board applauded their diligent efforts to keep the village safe. 

Board members bid farewell to Potocki and Trustee Ciro Greco as the meeting was their last serving on the board. Each trustee and the mayor thanked them for their dedication to serving the people of Pelham.

The next board of trustees meeting is scheduled for Dec. 8 and can be viewed here.