The New York State Education Department is using its strongest words yet about Buffalo School Board member Carl Paladino.
“We are in the process of reviewing all of our options in this unusual situation and will closely watch the actions taken by the Buffalo Board of Education at tomorrow’s meeting,” State Education Department spokesperson Emily DeSantis said in a statement.
The “unusual situation” DeSantis is referring to is the controversy over the controversial comments Paladino made in a published article by the publication Artvoice.
There has been growing fallout from those comments. A protest has been planned calling for his removal, and a change.org petition has thousands of signatures.
Paladino’s conduct is set to be the focus of a special School Board meeting Thursday.
School Board member Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold tells 7 Eyewitness News the Board plans to introduce a resolution aimed at unseating Paladino. She says it urges Paladino to resign, or the Board will file a formal application for removal with the State Education Commissioner. Dr. Nevergold says so far six of nine board members have signed the resolution.
In a 2017 Wish List, Paladino wrote that he hopes President Barack Obama dies from Mad Cow Disease, and called First Lady Michelle Obama a “male” who should “be let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxi, the gorilla.”
Since the Artvoice article was published, calls for Paladino’s removal from the Buffalo School Board have swelled. However, State Education Department law requires an official application for removal be filed, which will then be reviewed and judged by the Commissioner in a hearing. The law states that there must be evidence of willful, intentional wrongdoing.
Paladino sent an apology statement on Tuesday, suggesting that his word choice was a mistake. That apology was a far cry from his comments last week. The day after the Artvoice article was published, Paladino doubled-down, defending his comments and saying “of course” he wrote what he did.
Wednesday, Paladino appeared on WBEN's Tom Bauerle Show and said,
"I apologize for my words, I'll continue fighting for you. My goal is to end the cycle of poverty at least in our own community. There is a way to end it, but we have to get a lot of bad guys out of the way first."
On Tuesday, Buffalo Common Council unanimously passed a resolution condemning Paladino’s comments, which they plan to send to the State Education Department.
Paladino tells 7 Eyewitness News he is out of town and will not be attending Thursday's special school board meeting.
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