Buffalo School Board member, Paulette Woods, has apologized after using profanity and obscene gestures during a virtual school board meeting held on Zoom on November 18th. During the meeting, the board was discussing the contract extension of Superintendent Kriner Cash, among other education-related topics, when Woods was seen cursing and making a crude signal while another member of the board had the floor.
An early article by the Buffalo News, written in the name of the full editorial staff, stated that Woods “need[ed] to apologize and accept the consequences” of her behavior.
On Friday, November 28, Woods told 2 on Your Side that she was reaching for a glass of cranberry juice (and not wine like the Buffalo News alleged) at the time she was seen using profanity on screen. She also noted that the claims about her behavior are “slanderous,’ claiming that she may consider legal action against Larry Scott, the board member who called everyone’s attention to the incident.
On November 28th, Woods called into a radio broadcast to confirm that she had already apologized to her fellow board members within 2 days of incident. Board President Sharon Belton-Cottman said to 2 on Your Side that the board will need to hold a formal meeting to discuss the situation before she comments and shared the options of consequence are limited according, due to the school board’s bylaws. Although Woods apologizes to her peers and families of Buffalo for her behavior, she says the “media focus on a seven-second incident” should not halt conversations about more “important educational issues.”
In her formal apology given via WUFO Radio, Woods said, “I want to start by publicly apologizing to the parents, students, my constituents, my fellow elected officials, office and staff, and the Western New York community at large for displaying offensive body language and facial gestures during a very emotionally charged board of education meeting a couple of weeks ago.” She then added, “I allowed my emotions to run over, and I acted in a way that did not represent my best self.”
Watch the clip of Woods during the Zoom meeting below.