School Board Member Sues After Being Asked To Resign For Wishing Death On Obama

If you’re in a position of authority, you can expect to have some explaining to do if you decide to make outrageous statements. In extreme cases, you may even be asked for your resignation or find yourself at risk of being removed from your position. That’s what happened to Buffalo school board member Carl Paladino, and he feels pretty aggrieved about that. As such, he’s decided to file a federal lawsuit against the district and six of his board colleagues.

As Education Week explains, there doesn’t appear to be anything unusual about the board taking umbrage with Paladino’s actions. Towards the end of last year, he responded to a questionnaire in a weekly publication known as the Artvoice. He decided to make a complete fool of himself with his answer to one of the questions.

“He said that his wishes for 2017 include President Obama dying from mad cow disease and that First Lady Michelle Obama would 'return to being a male,' and 'let loose,' Education Weekly explained.

That’s an outrageous remark regardless of who you are, but it’s a particularly bad look for someone that is tasked with sitting on a school board. Exactly how can you claim to have the best interests of children in mind when you think nothing of posting hateful messages in public? That’s about how the rest of the school board felt, and a hearing was scheduled to determine whether Paladino should be removed.

Alas, he has beaten them to the punch by filing suit.

“My client feels very strongly that his constitutional rights, including his right to free speech have been violated by the actions of the majority members of the Board, the Board of Education and the school district as a result of a resolution that was passed seeking to remove my client from elected office," notes Dennis Vacco, Paladino's attorney. "Certain members of the Board of Education are seeking Carl’s removal in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights."

You won’t get an argument about First Amendment rights here, but you will get an argument about presenting yourself with something resembling class and dignity when you’re a school board member. Paladino failed to do that, and that’s a horrible example for the children in the district. As such, he doesn’t deserve the right to sit on the school board. Period.

Nate Kuzma, general counsel for the district, has responded to the suit with a statement.

"The Buffalo City School District, Board of Education and six individual board members were served tonight with a federal complaint filed by Park District Board Member Carl Paladino,” the statement read in part. “The District's general counsel will review the complaint to determine next steps."

It’s pretty amazing that it’s come to this. Paladino screwed up royally, and he should be a gentleman, take his medicine and walk away quietly. He has chosen not to do that by deciding to make a further spectacle of himself. Exactly what is he hoping for here? Even if his suit is successful, does he expect to be welcomed back to the board with open arms? Parents in the district may have something to say about that, so it’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Source: Education Week
Photo: Buffalo News Screenshot

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