UPDATE: A spokesperson for Buffalo Public Schools says Riverside High School Principal Jerome Piwko has resigned.
This comes after the school board approved a resolution to ban Councilman Wingo from school property after he brought a handgun into school.
ORIGINAL: Buffalo Public School board members approved a resolution Wednesday night that prohiits Buffalo Common Council Member Ulysees Wingo from being on any school property for 18 months – that includes being at any school-related functions, such as his son’s upcoming high school graduation.
The vote stems from a May incident in which Wingo – who is a conceal carry permit holder – brought a gun into Riverside High School. By all accounts, he quickly realized what he’d done and had the school principal lock the gun in the principal’s office for the duration of Wingo’s visit.
Board members debated if approving the resolution inadvertently punished Wingo’s son in addition to his father.
A point made by at least three board members was that an exception for Wingo would be unfair when school policy clearly states that guns cannot be brought on school property. They say the District Attorney acknowledged Wingo committed a crime, and those members want to see the policy upheld as it likely would be for any other parent who committed a crime, and that the situation had become too personalized.
At least two others expressed they believe Wingo made a mistake and tried to correct it immediately and that this would hurt a family and a young man hoping to celebrate a life milestone.
Still, others suggested, could the resolution be amended to allow Wingo to attend graduation but uphold the rest of the resolution?
Ultimately, the board passed it as is with no latitude for Superintendent Kriner Cash to make an exception for Wingo’s son’s graduation.
Two public speakers who attended Wednesday’s meeting brought up similar points. Sherri Byrnes of the BPTO, who also identified herself as the mom of a Buffalo public school graduate, said the district’s policy on guns should be upheld without exceptions, and that “mercy” had already been granted to Wingo when DA John Flynn chose not to press criminal charges.
The other speaker, Samual Herbert, spoke a lot about race, saying not every young black man has a father role model in his life, and that letting Wingo attend his son’s graduation is the right thing to do.
The approval of this resolution — as it stands now — prohibits councilman Wingo from being on public school property or attending any school-sponsored functions.
He was not in attendance at the meeting.