Buffalo BOE member Sharon Belton-Cottman crossed ethics line

By: Mike Madigan

Prior to the 28 January, 2015 Buffalo Public School BOE meeting – board member Sharon Belton-Cottman e-mailed and supported distribution of a highly racist and inappropriate flier. Such actions by any board member, regardless of race, must be acted on consistently and fairly and if found to breach ethical behavior policies fair and consistent consequences must be applied.

The flier in question made the following insulting hateful and racially inappropriate references:

  • Referred to Samuel Radford III the president of the District Parent Coordinating Council, who is black, as “swinging from the rafters on his monkey bars”. This appears within the Star of David.
  • Referred to Karl Paladino as Bull Connors who was a hate filled racist Democrat Commissioner for Public Safety in Birmingham AL.
    • Note: Connors was the Democrat National Chairman for Alabama in the 60’s.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., began “Project ‘C’” (for “confrontation”) in Birmingham against Connor and his subordinates in the police department. Connors coordinated a response to King’s actions associated with the “Freedom Riders” and Project C by organizing a KKK reception for them when they arrived where the riders were viciously beaten with metal bars, pipes and bats.

  • Additionally the flier suggests an association between “Karl” Paladino and the KKK – a ruthless racist terrorist organization associated with murders including lynching that was organized by Southern Democrats following their defeat in the Civil War.

According to the Buffalo News BOE Member Sharon Belton-Cottman acknowledged she distributed the flier throughout the community. LINK.

Based on the racist and hate filled content of the flier an ethics investigation must be initiated. According to the Buffalo News current board member Barbara Nevergold considers the flier offensive and agrees an investigation is required although she does not believe any consequence should be taken against Cottman.