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Board members address growing concerns over school violence

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

The Buffalo school board is coming to grips with violence in parts of the district. Much of Wednesday's board session focused on the issue which seems to have no easy solution.

Board Member Carl Paladino told a board committee meeting last night these are kids raised in a society where there are no consequences for bad behavior.

Other board members point to family disruption or poverty or gangs or lack of jobs.

Board Member Patty Pierce says one area where the schools might help is by offering more vocational training

"People can come in and tell these kids you can walk out of high school earning upwards of $40 or $50 an hour, learn how to weld, learn how to lay brick," said Pierce, a former police officer with experience in dealing with troubled kids.

"It keeps them focused and occupied and to know that you don't necessarily have to end up in a four-year college."

Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash agreed to come up with a plan to deal with the situation in city schools.

"Gang members will flat out take over your school," Cash said.

"The problem is you get those three or four (troubled students) in this school, four or five in this school."

Board Member Jen Mecozzi says there isn't enough use of organizations or groups which can help tell what students are doing outside of school.

"When you look around the community, you literally can go into the community and find those organizations that are interfacing that do know exactly where those kids are, what they are doing."


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.