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Protesters accuse Paladino of racism & bullying

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

A diverse crowd gathered in downtown Buffalo Thursday calling for Carl Paladino to resign.  WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says protesters are calling Paladino a bully and a man who is setting a bad example for the children he was elected to serve.   

“Paladino needs to go!” shouted protesters in Niagara Square Thursday.

Protester and parent Karen Brady brought her daughter to the protest. Although her child attends Tapestry Charter School in Buffalo, they are in support of Buffalo Public school children.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Demonstrators gathered in Niagara Square demanding Paladino resign.

“I’m out here with my daughter today to show her, to teach her that it is important to stand up. It’s important to stand up when you see things are happening that are wrong,” said Brady.

9-year-old Allison Brady read her protest sign while standing in Niagara Square.

“My teachers tell me bullying is wrong. What does Carl Paladino teach us?” read Brady.

The young girl had a powerful message for Paladino.

“You know it doesn’t matter what you mean to say, it matters how it effects people,” Brady remarked.

“He doesn’t understand that he is a racist. He doesn’t understand that he is an impediment. He doesn’t understand that he is a bad role model for our kids,” stated Phil Rumore, President of the Buffalo Teachers Federation (BTF).

Rumore is also calling for Paladino to step down. Rumore accuses him of violating student bullying rules. 

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Demonstrators gathered in Niagara Square demanding Paladino resign. This protester held a #CanCarl sign.

"I think there’s going to be different papers that are going to be filed. The BTF will also be filing papers as well, but there will be a number of different legal filings made,” explained Rumore.

Many of the demonstrators called Paladino a “racist” for his harsh comments about President Obama and the First Lady, written in response to an Artvoice survey.

One of the protesters was 18-year old Austin Harig, of South Buffalo, who ran a close race last May for Paladino's Park District seat.

“In all essence, I think this needed to happen and I think that the people of Buffalo really can see now that Carl Paladino is just not right for the children of Buffalo,” Harig said.

Harig said he's gearing up for another anti-Paladino protest Thursday, January 5th. Protesters will be marching to Paladino's home in South Buffalo asking for him to resign.   

Paladino issued a statement Thursday following the Buffalo Board of Education vote calling on him to resign.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Paladino issued an emailed statement Thursday following the school board's vote.

"The Board of Education's action today is certainly not an illustration of a profile in courage or leadership.  City of Buffalo Council Members, Legislators, the Mayor and County Executive have joined in the chorus of those Board members seeking my removal so as to push back on me to not disclose their culpability in rigging the recent teachers' contract or their complicity in trying to unfairly settle the Board's $450 million lawsuit against Lou Ciminelli for fleecing the citizens and children of Buffalo. I will fight to the end to continue to expose the corruption," wrote Paladino.

The New York State Education Department issued a statement immediately following the school board's 6-2 vote calling for Paladino to resign:

Statement by Emily DeSantis, State Education Department Spokesperson:

"We will continue to closely monitor the actions by the Buffalo School Board, the Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization and others on this matter. Once we receive an application for removal, we will review it as quickly as possible. We continue to review all of our options."

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