Buffalo school board member curses, uses obscene gesture during Zoom meeting
Paulette Woods, who was also seen drinking out of a wine glass, later apologized for her lewd behavior
Paulette Woods, a member of the Buffalo school board, is under fire for appearing to use an obscene gesture and using profanity during a virtual meeting earlier this month, as reported by Newsweek.
Woods would later apologize about the incident after being called out by The Buffalo News’ editorial board.
“I just want to start by publicly apologizing to parents, students, my constituents, my fellow elected officials, Buffalo school staff and the West 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,” Woods told WGRZ radio.
During a Zoom meeting on Nov. 18 with fellow members of the Buffalo school board and some local residents, Woods was seen drinking something out of a wine glass as other meeting attendees were speaking. She then began yelling, although her microphone was muted, and held up her middle finger.
One of the members on the call, fellow school board member Larry Scott, saw Woods’s actions and began to call attention to it to the others in the meeting. “We have a board member who is giving people the middle finger on her screen,” Scott said. After school board president Sharon Belton-Cottman asked Scott to repeat himself, he said, again, “There is a board member that was just swearing and giving the middle finger to everybody on the screen.”
Woods would continue the meeting with an apparent barrage of muted profanity. The video shows her lips saying, “shut the f**k up b***h, shut the f**k up,” before and after the obscene gesture.
Because the call was muted, it is uncertain to whom she was addressing.
Woods initially denied that she was cursing, drinking or showed her middle finger on the call. Prior to her apology on WGRZ, the editorial board of The Buffalo News published an Op-Ed, calling for her to acknowledge her actions:
“Her behavior is complicated by her position as a member of the Buffalo School Board, where she represents the Central District and chairs the Board’s Finance and Operations oversight. In that position, she may be a step removed from the students who interact with teachers and other actual grown-ups, but she is nonetheless a role model – a poor one, based on her behavior last week, but a role model, regardless.”
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!