Last Friday the Republican Presidential candidate, Donald J. Trump, was caught on tape boasting about groping and kissing women without their consent. Trump surrogates, including Buffalo School Board member Carl P. Paladino have rushed to defend Mr. Trump. They have tried to excuse or dismiss his actions as mere locker room banter – a claim that even athletes decry and find unbelievable. Further Mr. Paladino stated that Mr. Trump did “something that all men do, at least normal ones”, thus trying to normalize unacceptable behavior.
We, the undersigned members of the Buffalo Board of Education cannot remain silent as one member attempts to justify and condone behavior that is highly offensive and abusive to women. We are compelled, as elected officials, to speak on the behalf of the 34,000 children in our District, half of whom are female. All of our students, however, deserve to have representatives who will oppose those who maliciously degrade and demean groups of individuals.
We call on Board member Paladino to acknowledge that words matter and that our students are watching and listening to what we say and do; that Board members have an obligation to hold themselves to the same standards we have for students; that we should be the models of behavior (as outlined in the District’s Code of Conduct) that we expect of and require of our students; and that ultimately our students are impacted by the actions of adults who are charged with shaping the policies that determine their educational future.
Barbara A. Seals Nevergold, Member- at- Large
Sharon Belton Cottman, Ferry District Representative
Dr. Theresa Harris-Tigg, East District Representative
Hope Jay, Esq, North District Representative