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First public comments on Paladino's remarks

Posted at 7:00 PM, Jan 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-05 19:00:27-05

Community members made their first public comments to city officials about controversial remarks made by Buffalo School Board member Carl Paladino last month.

The Buffalo Common Council Education Committee held a public meeting Thursday and encouraged members of the public to attend and speak about Paladino.

"We send the strong message that bullying will not be tolerated in our schools and on our school board," said Committee Chairperson Ulysses Wingo.

Every member of the public who spoke condemned Paladino's comments and openly called for his removal from the school board.

"I personally consider Mr. Paladino beyond redemption," said Tamara Thornton.

Eve Shippens is a BPS teacher and parent.  She said a school board member should be held to the same standard she is as a teacher.  Shippens also said he is a dangerous example for students.

"This is toxic for all of our children," she said.  "It teaches our white students that it's alright to hate based on color.  It teaches our male students that it's alright to sexually harass females.  It teaches everyone to be afraid of who is different from them."

Jennifer Strickland teaches at Houghton Academy, a school within Paladino's Park District.  She read a letter one of her sixth grade students wrote about Paladino's remarks.

The letter read in part:  "Since Mr. Paladino thinks this about our nation's leaders, what does he think of us as students?  The things he stated were sickening.  Maybe we can get a new board member."

Every council member condemned the comments made by Paladino.  

Council Member Christopher Scanlon of the South District spoke out against public comments surrounding the "perceived racist tendencies from people in South Buffalo", saying he and many in his district are "absolutely appalled" by Paladino's comments.

Council Member Golombek said he is "disgusted" with Paladino's comments, but he doesn't agree with attempting to remove an elected official in this way.

"I'm very, very uncomfortable with the whole idea of asking for a higher body to remove somebody from office for saying or doing something objectionable," he said.

The Council had previously adopted resolutions calling for Paladino to step down and asking the state education commissioner to look into his removal.  Those resolutions and all public comments from Thursday's meeting will be sent to the State Education Department next Tuesday.