An administrator at Riverside High School is on leave after a Buffalo Common Council member brought a gun into the school.
Buffalo Public Schools identified the Common Council Member as Ulysses Wingo who serves the city's Masten District.
A spokesperson from the Erie County District Attorney's office on Saturday responded to 2 On Your Side by saying, "Our office is looking into the matter."
2 On Your Side was not able to reach Council member Wingo, but he did release the following statement on Facebook:
"I respect the concerns of my constituents, the families, and the administrators of the Buffalo School District and acknowledge the inconvenience this situation has caused. I regret Tuesday’s events and as an elected representative of the Masten District, I will work to ensure that all affected parties are reassured of my commitment to the safety of every student.
I have my license to legally carry a pistol, unrestricted, in the State of New York to protect my family and myself. I have the utmost respect for laws and protocols surrounding firearms in schools. My actions were unintentional and inadvertent. To bolster public safety, I was concerned with disarming and securing my weapon, ascertaining the school’s protocol for this type circumstance and to ensure the continued safety of the students.
I am remorseful that this has come to our doorstep as a community. This further enforces the need for a more robust security program at all of our schools."
-Pastor Ulysees O. Wingo, Sr.
Masten District Council Member
According to a statement from the district:
When Central Office staff of the Buffalo City School District was made aware that Buffalo Common Council Member and Education Chair Ulysees Wingo had entered Riverside High School #205 with a gun and ammunition, protocol was immediately followed and police were notified. NYS Penal Law 220.00 and BPS Board Policy 3441 strictly prohibits firearms on school property for anyone other than commissioned law enforcement officers. The administrator in charge of Riverside High School #206 has been placed on administrative leave while the District follows Human Resource procedures.
Pursuant to District procedure, this individual has been notified that he is not permitted to be on, in, or around any Buffalo City School District property or attend any events sponsored by the Buffalo Public Schools without the express written permission of the Superintendent.
At a time when the country is besieged by gun violence and the horrific, unspeakable events that have occurred inside our nation’s schools, the Buffalo City School District remains especially vigilant on behalf of our students, teachers, and staff. It is inexcusable for any person to enter school property with a firearm. In the event that a gun is known to be on school property, police will be called and a report will be filed. The uncompromised safety of our schools is always our first priority.
According to sources, Wingo came to the school to attend an event and informed the principal he was carrying his legally registered gun for which he has a concealed carry permit.
The principal then allowed Wingo to store it in the principal’s office for the duration of the event, instead of turning him away.
Could Councilman be Charged?
At this point, the answer to that question remains unclear.
Although the Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) prohibits any unauthorized individual from knowingly possessing a loaded firearm in a school, there is an exception within that federal statute for those with concealed carry permits provided: the individual possessing the firearm is licensed to do so by the State in which the school zone is located, and the gun is not loaded.
It is unclear whether Wingo’s gun was loaded or not.
However state legislators, in an attempt to prevent school districts from letting teachers with appropriate licenses carry guns, recently amended New York gun laws to prohibit persons with permits to bring them to schools.