PELHAM, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — In-person learning for students of one Westchester County school district is postponed, and the delay is being blamed on the risky behavior of a large group of partying teens.

What happened in the woods of Pelham, forced an emergency decision from its school district. Administrators discovered more than 100 students of Pelham High School were at parties over two nights in the woods, not wearing masks and not social distancing.

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Now schools, which were set to begin in-class instruction Thursday and Friday, are back to learning online for at least two days. Among those being kept out of the classroom until Monday at the earliest is sixth grader Liz Gammon.

“I think that is something that they shouldn’t have done, but I can see that, like, when people get really excited…” said Liz Gammon in an interview with CBS2’s Dave Carlin.

“There’s a lot of the student population that is really upset with the kids who are in the woods and were partying,” said mother Donna Gammon.

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In Pelham’s business district, CBS2 found kids getting haircuts and walking with parents. Greg Copeland, with daughters Shiloh and London, shopped and lunched while Hutchinson Elementary School welcomed staff, but not kids.

“I understand that they’re trying to keep us safe, but I’m kind of sad because I really like school,” said Shiloh Copeland.

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The Pelham school district’s chief information officer Alex Wolf told CBS2 Superintendent Cheryl Champ would not do interviews or make public comments.

Her letter to parents said “the risky behavior of the teens in the woods left them with no other choice but to delay in-person classes for all Pelham District Schools” because younger siblings attend such a variety of them.


The president of the Pelham Teachers’ Association, Mark Finnegan, questioned why teachers have to return to classrooms, while students stay home.

“We want to have the option to do it, to work from home,” said Finnegan.

Some kids say they worry the test results or some other factors could lead to another delay in in-person learning.

The students who were at the parties have been told to quarantine. Parents say their fingers are crossed that students return to schools Monday with no more surprises.

“I hope, I’m hoping,” said Greg Copeland.

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