BUFFALO, NY - Buffalo Public Schools kicked off Thursday a series of forums, focused on improving the district's Code of Conduct. Many community leaders say the code needs to be updated, following the controversy involving Carl Paladino.
"I think the controversy of Carl Paladino has kind of brought the code of conduct more into a conversation that more people are talking about this time around," said Duncan Kirkwood, a community activist and leader of the local Black Lives Matter chapter.
He says Paladino's controversial comments last year about President Obama and his wife Michelle, are still resonating in the community. Paladino wished death on the former president -- and said Michelle Obama should go live with a gorilla in Zimbabwe.
"There needs to be something in writing and a clear process and step levels of how we're going to discipline board members," Kirkwood said.
The Buffalo Schools code of conduct, details the responsibilities of board members, the superintendent, principals and school staff. But, there's nothing on accountability, in case they do something wrong.
There are clear outlines for students though, with four levels of punishment from a verbal correction or a seat change, to suspension or expulsion.
And, Kirkwood believes a list of punishment, that's applied to students, should also be created for board members.
"Sanctioning their stipend or not allowing them to vote for a certain amount of time," Kirkwood said.
"So, we cannot have a code of conduct that's a double standard," said Sam Radford, the president of a Buffalo parents group -- he says he hopes the meetings can address what he sees as inconsistencies from school to school among the student body.
"We have a difference in how its implemented from one school to another school so if you go to a criteria based school or influence school like city honors or hutch tech you might be able to use your cell phone in school even though that's a violation of the code of conduct," he said.
Thursday's meeting was held at Lafayette High on the west side, this was the location of the first of six forums on the code of conduct. People can not only come to these forums to give their opinion but also, give their thoughts at parents centers and through the district's website.