June 2017 Issue

Hearing set on Paladino's fate

Author: By Matt Smith
Source: NYSUT United

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has called for a public hearing to help determine whether Carl Paladino should remain on Buffalo's Board of Education.

The June 22 hearing comes six months after Paladino made racially charged comments about President Obama and his wife, Michelle, during an interview for an alternative newspaper in Buffalo.

The hearing, which starts at 9 a.m. in the State Education Department building, will address a petition filed by the Buffalo school board. Though initially focused on Paladino's comments, the petition now claims Paladino violated policy by publicly disclosing details surrounding teacher contract negotiations discussed in executive session.

Elia has the authority under state law to remove a member of a school board for the willful violation of the law or neglect of duty. In all, four petitions have been filed seeking Paladino's removal. Besides the Buffalo school board's filing, petitions have also been brought by the Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization, the city's NAACP chapter, Buffalo's District Parent Coordinating Council, and the Buffalo Teachers Federation and NYSUT.

The BTF–NYSUT petition argues that Paladino's racist and hateful comments violate the state's Dignity for All Students Act, which requires school districts to ensure students have an education environment free of harassment, bullying and discrimination.

Since Paladino's remarks were made public, protest rallies have been held in Buffalo by parents, teachers and community members to call for his ouster. Buffalo school board meetings over the last several months also have been repeatedly disrupted by protesters demanding he be removed.

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