School Board Demands Member’s Resignation Over Obama Comments

Carl Paladino, a member of the Buffalo Board of Education, has been asked to resign from his position after making racist comments about the Obamas.

The resolution by the Buffalo Board of Education was read aloud and passed, 6 to 2. Mr. Paladino was not present.

If he refuses to step down, “the board will ask the state education commissioner to remove him,” it said in a resolution.

Barbara Seals Nevergold, said, “Words matter, Mr. Paladino.”

The words in question came in response to a survey about hopes for 2017, sent to members of the Buffalo community by Artvoice, a local weekly newspaper.

Mr. Paladino said in the survey that he “wished Mr. Obama would die of mad cow disease.” Paladino also said Ms. Obama would “return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.”

Mr. Paladino is a political ally of President-elect Donald J. Trump and ran for governor in 2010 as the Republican nominee.

Mr. Paladino apologized to the “minority community” and said that his comments were written to “vent and write deprecating humor about a bad president,” and were not intended for the public. He said his comments were meant for friends, but he accidentally hit “reply” instead of  “forward.”

Hope Jay, the board member who authored the resolution, called his comments “unambiguously racist” and “morally repugnant.”

Another board member, Paulette Woods, said: “Mr. Paladino had violated the public school code of conduct and the state’s anti-bullying law, and if students behaved that way, they would be suspended.”

She called Mr. Paladino’s comments part of a “pattern of racist and negative behaviors.”

After the 6-2 vote, Mr. Paladino sent a statement by email saying, “The Board of Education’s action today is certainly not an illustration of a profile in courage or leadership.”

Mr. Paladino said he would not heed calls for his resignation, “not when it’s time to help implement the real choice elements of Trump’s plan for education reform.”

Thursday’s resolution requires that Mr. Paladino resign within 24 hours. If he refuses, the board will file a petition with the state education commissioner, MaryEllen Elia, to have him removed. Ms. Elia would decide whether to do so after a hearing.

At Thursday’s meeting, Dr. Nevergold said she had heard from people across the country outraged by Mr. Paladino’s comments.

“They would like me to tell you, ‘You’re fired,’” she said. “But those are not my words. So I’m asking you to do the right thing, and resign.”

H/T: NY Times

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