School Board’s abuse of Ulysees Wingo for exercise of a core constitutional right will not be tolerated

June 6, 2019 – BUFFALO, N.Y. – On Tuesday, May 14, 2019, Buffalo Common Council member Ulysees O. Wingo entered Riverside High School to attend the announcement of a new college scholarship. A concealed carry permit holder, Wingo realized he was carrying his lawfully-owned pistol upon entering the school, and made a good faith effort to comply with school policy and state law regarding the carry of firearms on school grounds.

In a situation where many others would have simply kept quiet about the presence of their lawfully-carried weapon, Wingo made the responsible decision to advise Riverside’s principal about his firearm, check it in at the school office, and have it secured in a safe. Unfortunately, instead of calling Wingo to praise him for his actions, the Buffalo School District called city police to investigate the incident.

The Buffalo News has reported that responding officers “seemed unsure why they were asked to be involved if the principal had properly stored the weapon, according to district officials. The two officers then stepped into the hall and made a phone call. When they returned, the two officers indicated there was no crime committed and no reason to file a report, according to district officials. The police left.”

This outcome did not satisfy Buffalo Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash. In response to the incident, he barred Wingo from school grounds and placed Riverside Principal Jerome Piwko on paid administrative leave pending a district investigation.

On May 23, 2019, following his office’s review of the incident and citing prosecutorial discretion and common sense, Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announced that Wingo “will not be charged” with a crime. This outcome did not satisfy the Buffalo School Board, which requested that Wingo be banned from the Buffalo Common Council’s Education Committee. Wingo capitulated, and stepped down from the Committee. In return, the Buffalo School Board is proposing a resolution that Wingo “be suspended from district premises for a period of no less than 18 months.” This move would effectively bar Wingo from attending his son’s graduation at Hutchinson Central Technical High School on June 24, 2019.  

“Ulysees Wingo has done nothing more than trigger the rampant and irrational hoplophobia that long ago infected the far-left progressives on the Buffalo School Board,” 2AWNY.COM Civil Rights Advocate Steve Felano said. “The last time I checked, this is not a crime, and does not justify the public abuse Mr. Wingo has suffered at the hands of Buffalo School Board members. This may come as breaking news to Kriner Cash and his colleagues, but the mere presence of a loaded firearm in a school does not immediately translate into a threat of imminent death for students. To the contrary, if Buffalo School Board members took the time to actually consult the relevant data, they would learn that schools allowing lawful concealed carry are extremely safe.”

The excessive mistreatment directed at Mr. Wingo is a product of progressive virtue signaling, and barring him from school grounds for no other reason than the fact that he exercises his Second Amendment civil rights amounts to unlawful discrimination. Accordingly, 2AWNY.COM has made preparations to sue the Buffalo School Board for their discriminatory treatment of Mr. Wingo, and intends to use such legal action as an opportunity for the courts to review the constitutionality of Buffalo School policy and state law barring licensed concealed carriers from possessing their lawful weapons on school grounds.

Given the fact that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is flipping majority Republican and the U.S. Supreme Court now has a solid pro-Second Amendment majority, 2AWNY.COM is confident that they would prevail in reversing both unconstitutional anti-school carry policies on appeal from the state court system.

“Assuming Mr. Wingo agrees to participate in this legal matter, the Buffalo School Board will have two choices: either nullify the entirety of Mr. Wingo’s school district premises ban at their June 19 board meeting, allow Mr. Wingo to attend his son’s graduation, and place Jerome Piwko back on active employment as principal, or face the wrath of 2AWNY.COM in court,” Felano said. “Choosing the latter will senselessly waste thousands of taxpayer dollars on legal bills, and earn the Buffalo School Board the dubious distinction among New York’s rabidly anti-Second Amendment progressives of being the reason that bans on concealed carry in public schools are ruled unconstitutional in federal court.”

Since launching in late 2018, 2AWNY.COM has succeeded in accomplishing the following for Western New York’s vibrant and growing Second Amendment civil rights community. Adding the overturn of New York State’s anti-school concealed carry policies would simply be another major victory added to this growing list:

2AWNY.COM looks forward to welcoming progressives to a brave new era of expanded Second Amendment civil rights for Western New Yorkers in 2019 and beyond.

To learn more about any of the above, please contact Steve Felano at (518) 852-1863 or [email protected].

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2AWNY is a force multiplier for the numerous Second Amendment civil rights advocacy enterprises forming the backbone of Western New York’s vibrant gun culture. We act as a 2A news and information distribution, policy analysis, and organizational driver for the many interest groups seeking to defend and expand Second Amendment civil rights throughout the region. 2AWNY is dedicated to assisting in the organization, promotion, and funding of legal challenges to the unconstitutional New York State gun control regime. We seek to make Western New York the epicenter of New York State’s Second Amendment civil rights renaissance. Learn more at WWW.2AWNY.COM.