The Buffalo Board of Education voted Thursday to demand the resignation of Carl Paladino, a board member who made vile and racist remarks about the Obamas. Paladino co-chaired President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign in New York.
In a special meeting called to discuss Paladino’s comments, board members voted 6 to 2 to call for his resignation. If he does not, the board will petition the New York state commissioner of education, who has the authority to initiate proceedings to have Paladino removed from the panel.
A statement from the New York State Education Department issued after the vote said:
“We will continue to closely monitor the actions by the Buffalo School Board, the Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization and others on this matter. Once we receive an application for removal, we will review it as quickly as possible. We continue to review all of our options.”
Paladino, a wealthy Republican business executive, said in response to a survey by the alternative newspaper Artvoice that his biggest wish in 2017 is that President Obama “catches mad cow disease after being caught having relations” with a cow, then dies and is buried in a cow pasture. He said he hopes first lady Michelle 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.”
He was denounced by elected politicians, schools and others, and many called for him to resign from the Buffalo school board, where he has served since 2013 and this year won re-election. Paladino initially refused to back away from his comments, but he recently sent a 12-paragraph email to supporters saying he would not resign but that “I never intended to hurt the minority community who I spent years trying to help out of the cycle of poverty in our inner cities. To them I apologize.”
Syracuse.com reported that Paladino, in his email, also “went on to defiantly criticize those who have asked him to resign from the Buffalo school board over his remarks” and “continued his relentless attack on Obama’s record as president.”
Barbara Seals Nevergold, the school board president, called for Thursday’s special meeting and made a statement recently that clearly stated her position: “We have what’s called a Dignity For All Students act. It does not just apply to students. It applies to everyone in the district. It applies to me, every other board member, every staff member. Adults are expected to adhere to that policy and if we’re not adhering to the policy, how in the world can we ask our students to adhere to it?”