School PTA Orders Cops To Disarm, Not To Speak During Community Event
Ramapo, NY - The Ramapo Police Department took to social media on Saturday to call out the Central Hudson Region Parent Teacher Association (PTA) for their treatment of law enforcement officials earlier in the day.
The department said that there was an an advertised Legislation/Education Breakfast featuring Commissioner Elia of the NYS Education Department that was being hosted by the PTA.
The PTA promoted by saying, "You can't possibly miss this opportunity to have a direct conversation about our children's education and safety with NY State Education leadership and your legislators. Be part of this crucial dialogue on March 10th! "
Sounding exactly like the type of event that law enforcement should be involved in, Ramapo Chief Weidel and a lieutenant in charge of school-based policing registered for the event.
After they paid the $50 event fee, they were told by a school teacher who was moderating the event that armed police were not allowed to attend.
The department said that the teacher claimed that armed uniformed police would make people uncomfortable at an educational event.
The chief told them that they would not be disarming, so the teacher consulted with others in the event and returned to tell them that they could be present, but would not be allowed to speak.
It was clear that the officers were not welcome at the event, so rather than press the issue they simply asked for the return for the $50 attendance fee that they had just paid 5 minutes earlier.
The teacher refused to refund their money. The police then left the event $50 lighter.
In a written statement, the Ramapo Police Department said, "RPD is extremely disappointed how we were treated as police officers attending a forum expected to include issues relating to student safety. We expect that our individual local PTA’s do not feel the same way about us and will denounce what occurred. We want to be very clear to our community: The Ramapo Police Department is committed to the safety of your children in school. We will not let this incident dissuade us from forging forward in every possible way to enhance the safety of your children."
The NYS PTA reached out to Ramapo PD and apologized.
"Please note, that as soon as we were aware of this incident this evening, we immediately contact the region holding the event to discuss the incident and instructed the immediate removal of the individual involved from the Region PTA committee structure," the NYA PTA director said in a message to the department.
"The Region Director will be calling this evening to offer a formal apology, will be submitting an apology letter, and asking for a meeting at your earliest convenience to apologize in person," the message continued. "This incident is absolutely not acceptable, not PTA policy, and contrary to our instructions to our Regions."
"We fully support out local police departments, and welcome police officers to attend any of our events," the message concluded.
The Chief reports that he looks forward to hearing from the NYS PTA executive director and they will provide updates about how the meeting turns out.