A Pleasantville couple has refused a request to remove a flag supportive of President Donald Trump that contains a vulgarity from the front of their house even though it’s directly across the street from Bedford Road School.
Academy Street residents Gina and Mike Casarella rebuffed an appeal earlier this week from Pleasantville Superintendent of Schools Mary Fox-Alter, who spoke with each of them individually in hopes of convincing them to take down the flag with the obscenity. There had been complaints lodged by parents to the district and on social media, stating that it was inappropriate for it to be so close to the K-4 school.
The flag reads “Donald Trump 2020 Stop the Bull—-.”
“We always had a Trump flag,” Gina Casarella said on Thursday while outside the house with her husband. “We just happened to find this one on Amazon because there’s a lot of bull—- going on. We have four kids altogether. So for anyone to imply that we’re bad parents or anything, we’ve been in the school system for years.”
She said they displayed the flag starting last Sunday.
Mike Casarella said he found it hard to believe that anyone would be offended by the word in question. He said he suspects parents decided to complain because it’s a pro-Trump flag.
“These kids know worse words than that. Come on,” he said. “YouTube, the internet. They hand condoms out in the school. You know what I’m saying?”
Fox-Alter said she appealed to the Casarellas because their new flag is in full view of the elementary school, not because of their political beliefs. The family has had a Trump flag flying outside their house for more than two years and it hasn’t been an issue until now, Fox-Alter said.
She said she reached out to the family “in the spirit of being a good neighbor, in the spirit of community, in the spirit of being a partner and in the spirit of helping to educate young children.”
“Because that’s against the kids’ code of conduct, it’s inappropriate language, it’s vulgar language and we want our kids to model good behavior, and as adults you could help us by taking down the flag with the vulgarity,” Fox-Alter recalled telling the Casarellas.
Pleasantville Mayor Peter Scherer said he agreed with Fox-Alter and found it regrettable that someone would display profanity so close to the elementary school. He said he would also speak to the couple in hopes of getting them to reconsider as village officials research if they have any recourse.
The Casarellas contended that the matter has been overblown. Following Trump’s election, Gina Casarella said she heard comments that were far worse, including some from students directed at their 13-year-old daughter.
“It’s really a common word now,” she said. “I don’t find it offensive. It’s less offensive than other signs I see around town. No one’s going around checking out those signs because they’re not in front of a school.”