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Paladino’s conduct to be discussed in special board session

WBFO News file photo by Eileen Buckley

The Buffalo Board of Education is calling for a special meeting to be held this Thursday to discuss the conduct of board member Carl Paladino. 

City School Board President Barbara Seals Nevergold has called for the session to be held in Common Council Chambers at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. 

Paladino has caused a firestorm for his racist comments against the Obamas made in an Artvoice article last week. His comments have caused a huge outcry from many in the community calling for him to resign from the school board.

Prior to the school board special session, the Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization (BPTO) has called for a rally to take place at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in Niagara Square to call on New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia to remove Paladino immediately from the city school board.

Larry Scott is co-chair of the Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization (BPTO),

"We demand the immediate removal of Carl Paladino from the Buffalo Board of Education," declared Buffalo School parent Rachel Dominguez. “His vile, racist remarks, which were published by local newspaper Artvoice, would not be tolerated if uttered by a student in one of our schools. As a public figure who is charged with decision-making on behalf of our children, we demand that Carl Paladino be held to the same standard as our BPS students, and be immediately removed from the Buffalo Board of Education,” stated the BPTO.

The BPTO pointed out Paladino has ‘not abided by the school board members’ Code of Ethics’ in his written remarks in the Artvoice article. In that code, all school board members vow the “first and greatest concern must be the educational welfare of the students attending the public schools (by-law #1311, adopted 2002).”

The organization also noted the city schools Code of Conduct holds students accountable for “harassment based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability or religion, including cyber-harassment, against members of the school community.”

The BPTO has also created an online petition calling on Commissioner Elia to remove Paladino from the board. So far, more than 12,000 people have signed that petition, but thousands more have signed other on-line petitions.

WBFO News has put in a request to the State Education Department for a response from Commissioner Elia.  We received the following response from NYSED's Communication office:

"Because the Commissioner may be called upon to render a decision under New York State Education Law, we cannot comment on this matter." 

The NYSED office again issued a statement released last week by Regents Chancellor  Betty A. Rosa in response to Paladino’s remarks:

“As adults we are morally bound to ensure both the physical and emotional well-being of our children.  All of us serve as role models for our young people.  In a time when we should be focused on the issues of respect and unification, I personally find it unacceptable for anyone who touches the lives of our children to speak in this manner.  Words are important-they carry weight and they carry power-and when they are used irresponsibly, it can have disastrous implications. This kind of language does not belong within the context of our communities and our schools.  Being an American demands we respect the office of the President.  That's what we teach our children in New York State as part of our civic learning, and it's a lesson that Mr. Paladino apparently needs to review."

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