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NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Continues

Leading Charge to Remove Paladino from Buffalo School Board

In the latest chapter in its effort to remove Carl Paladino from the Board of Education of the Buffalo School District, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund has filed a legal brief with New York’s education commissioner detailing why his racially inflammatory actions and statements make him unfit to represent children and parents in the state’s second biggest city and demanding that he be removed.

In December, Paladino – who has a long history of making racist comments – made a series of outrageous “wishes” for 2017, including for President Obama to “[catch] mad cow disease,” and Michelle Obama “to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe.”

In response, LDF, the Buffalo Branch NAACP and the Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization in January called on New York’s Commissioner of Education, MaryEllen Elia, to use her power to remove Paladino from the school board.

“Mr. Paladino’s racially inflammatory statements demonstrate his inability to fairly and appropriately make educational decisions in a school district as diverse as Buffalo’s. Mr. Paladino’s conduct harms all of the children of Buffalo, and it disqualifies him from serving on the Board,” said LDF Senior Counsel Raymond Audain. “The children of Buffalo should not have to entrust their education to someone who has overtly linked Blackness to inhumanity. We hope that Commissioner Elia will rightly condemn Mr. Paladino’s actions, and immediately remove him from the Board.”

In its new memo of law, LDF outlines how Carl Paladino’s history of racially inflammatory actions and statements, as well as his disclosure of confidential information from Board executive sessions, constitute intentional and willful violations and/or neglect of his duty to properly execute his responsibilities as a member of the Buffalo Board of Education, necessitating his removal. If he is not removed from the Buffalo Board of Education, it cannot properly perform its responsibilities and ensure that each student will have the confidence and hope that is required for him or her to succeed.

Commissioner Elia has set a hearing date of June 22nd for the Board of Education’s petition.

Read LDF’s full memo of law.


Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.