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Parent teacher organization denounces Paladino's behavior

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Buffalo School parents, teachers and citizens lined the steps of City Hall Tuesday speaking out against school board member Carl Paladino's behavior.

The group says it has 'grave concern' with his racists comments.  Members of the organization were joined by other citizen and labor groups saying Paladino is part of 'Systemic Racism'. 

Open Buffalo's Executive Director Franchelle Hart is ready to stand up against Paladino's previous 'sisterhood' remarks to minority school board members.

"People said Paladino might add to the black sisterhood -- let me tell you something -- if being in the black sisterhood means standing up here as a competent, educated black woman, and for fighting for the education and future of our children, then you can invite me into the sisterhood," stated Hart. 

BPTO co-chair Larry Scott said he was speaking out as a 'white father'.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
BPTO co-chair Larry Scott speaks out against Paladino.

"Mr. Paladino comments and action have only served to worsen systemic racism. His behavior has become a significant distraction to and in interference with the functions of the Board of Education and Buffalo schools," stated Scott.

In early June, Paladino made a disparaging comment about Asians, actually referring to University at Buffalo students as "Damn Asians" and "foreigners." He later apologized. 

But Scott noted the protest is also against Paladino is response to Civil Rights expert Gary Orfield who issued a report about the city district.

Scott called a letter Paladino's issued to Orfield as 'disrespectful'.  Paladino refused to meet with Orfield. "He doesn't even want to have a discussion about race," said Scott.

Parent and member of the BPTO, Keith Jones, also spoke out against Paladino. 

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Buffalo parent Keith Jones speaks out against Paladino.

"I demand right now that you school board members being silent take a stand against this man and his racist views," stated Jones.

Paladino issued a written statement. He said the BPTO does not represent the interests of parents and noted the organization is financed by the Buffalo Teachers Federation. 

But the BPTO said that claim that it is funded by the BTF and serves BTF President Phil Rumore is "false".

"For the record, these claims are false. We are not financed by BTF and Mr. Rumore has nothing to do with the BPTO. The remainder of his response his loaded with baseless accusations and insults," stated Scott.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
BPTO handed out 'Reject Racism' pledge cards for the public to sign.

Paladino issued that statement while behind closed doors in the City Hall Board of Education meeting room on the 8th floor. That's where school board members gathered Tuesday to conduct two interviews with out-of-town superintendent candidates. 

WBFO News tried twice Tuesday to get reaction from Paladino, but the school board members continued to meet in executive session, behind closed doors.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Door to the school board room remained closed during interviews Tuesday with outside candidates for the superintendent post.

The following is the full response Paladino issued:

Statement from Carl Paladino:

"The BPTO is financed by the BTF allegedly with $500,000 to do a hatchet job on me because Phil Rumore sees me as a threat because I can actually walk and talk at the same time. BPTO does not represent the interests of parents.  That's a smokescreen. It advocates only for the BTF leaders and Board of Education minority members and their parasitic activist friends and family. The community supports change. Union leaders and minority Board members advocate for the status quo to maintain their feeding frenzy at the public trough. Unable to intelligently address the issues they resort to the race card to which I am immune because I and the community know I'm not racist and I couldn't care less what they think of me.

There will be more acrimony until we put these people who caused the dysfunction on the street. Your liberal, incorrigible editorial writers will never figure that out because that would mean that they were at fault for allowing the dysfunction. I called an incompetent administration attorney "ignorant" because she gave bad and incompetent legal advice. Your editorial writers say that is racist. That's it. Show me another alleged racist act or statement. The News is irresponsibly feeding the frenzy."