As the demands continue for the removal of Carl Paladino from the city school board, the Buffalo Common Council's Education committee used the topic of bullying to listen to citizens' comments about him.WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says more than a dozen speakers delivered passionate remarks.
"He’s not a role model to us and as a board member, we need to have a role model,” stated Houghton Academy teacher Jennifer Strickland.
Strickland carried a folder filed with letters from about 40 of her 6th grade students. She said Paladino was consider the “hot topic” when they returned to class this week. She was allowed to read one of those letters.
"The things he stated were sickening. Maybe we can get a new board member. I hope Mr. Paladino is no longer the holder of the position of school board member. He does not represent intelligent children and dignified schools, but immature men with no common sense,” read Strickland.
Some have told lawmakers the fear Paladino’s remarks about the Obamas could be damaging to children.
Masten District Council Member and Chairman of Education Committee Ulysees Wingo allowed time for citizens to offer their remarks.
“The school board will be better without you. Buffalo will be better without you. We want out of this relationship. We want you off of this school board,” declared Wingo.
Some were critical of lawmakers asking them to take a harsher stand against Paladino in calling for him to step down. The Common Council has a resolution calling for Paladino to step down. But only State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has the power to remove a school board member. The public comments from the meeting will be sent to her.
However, North District Council member Joe Golombek worries about removing an elected leader for his right to free speech.
“As much as I don’t think Mr. Paladino should be on the school board, I am very, very uncomfortable with having someone remove an elected official that was voted on and elected by people anywhere across this country,” stated Golombek.
One citizen, Buffalo resident Joanna Gillespie, called on lawmakers to move away from the allure of Paladino's power as a businessman.
“The city of Buffalo has been drunk on Carl Palidino’s money for too long and it’s time for everyone to sober up,” Gillespie remarked.
Now many are appealing to Commissioner Elia by describing how Paladino is breaking the "Code of Conduct" that students are asked to maintain. Buffalo's NAACP chapter President Mark Blue is urging city school parents to file complaints.
“We need the parents to act right now. Every parent file that petition – submit that petition – in a bullying aspect of what Carl Paladino is doing that has is hampering our school board into making the right decision that they need to make. He’s causing havoc and parents, who have children in school, need to file that complaint form and register that complaint,” stated Blue.
Alanda Gethers said it is time for Paladino to offer a "real" apology.
“If you can sign off on a document that you are holding our children captive to, then what are you saying about yourself? You don’t lord over our children,” said Gethers.