Sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Updated 1 hour ago
Two people — including the wife of a school board member — applauded the Gateway School District's decision not to allow a first-grader to attend classes after her family moved out of Monroeville.
The superintendent and school board denied a request from the mother of Kamdyn Biddle, 6, to allow her to finish the year at Cleveland Steward Elementary when it was found the family moved to Murrysville after the death of her father in September. The controversial decision to enforce the district's residency requirement was met mostly with criticism from the public, and some school officials said they received death threats after the situation was reported in the media.
At school board meeting Feb. 7, however, Nancy Lapcevich stepped up to support the decision, saying she wouldn't “chastise” the board members because she believed they were doing their job by sticking to policy with “integrity, transparency and truth.” Lapcevich's husband is a school board member.
Monroeville resident Victor Olive also applauded the board for adhering to its policy and being consistent with decisions it has made in the past.
Olive, owner of Watson Chevrolet in Murrysville, said his sister had to follow protocol when she started the process of purchasing a home in Monroeville and getting her son out of the Penn Hills school district and into Gateway.
“I didn't realize what the protocol was. ... I thought he'd be able to come into the district. The fact of the matter was that those were the parameters that he had to go through to get here,” Olive said.
Lapcevich said board members were sent “demeaning, obscene, vile” comments from the public in retaliation for their decision to oust Biddle.
“Once it hit the news, we were nothing but the dirt under everybody's shoes,” Lapcevich said. “It was very offensive, especially to Mr. (Superintendent Bill) Short. I can't read in public the texts that were sent around about what he was called.”
She questioned why people who had an issue with the decision didn't show up to the meeting to complain. Lapcevich also said she was glad the majority of the inappropriate messages came from people living outside of the school district.
Olive said he decided to speak because he'd heard that board members received threats of physical violence and death after Jan. 30.
“I have compassion and anguish for what (Biddle) experienced in losing her father, but it's intolerable that lives were threatened. No one deserves to be threatened,” Olive said.
Board member Steve O'Donnell said “nobody wins” when events reach the level of “nasty and cold-hearted” messages.
He said messages went beyond inappropriate — primarily directed against Short and his family.
“The impact was terrible,” O'Donnell said.
Short said he contacted the Monroeville police regarding the threats but declined further comment. Police Chief Doug Cole also declined to comment about the issue.
Samson X Horne is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.