Masten Council Member Ulysees O. Wingo is worried that he might not be allowed to attend his son’s graduation from Hutchinson Central Technical High School next Monday. He has reason to be.
After carrying a loaded gun into a city school last month, he is – for the moment, at least – banned from entering any Buffalo public school without written permission from Superintendent Kriner Cash. It’s an appropriate decision.
Still, we can’t help but suggest a little short-term mercy. Whatever the school district decides to do about Wingo’s long-term freedom to enter the city schools, it should at least grant him a waiver to attend his son’s graduation. There is no socially useful reason to deny him and his son the ability to share that rite of passage.
Yes, Wingo – and everyone else – would have been better off had he thought about what he was doing. Beyond the possibility of missing his son’s moment on stage, he narrowly escaped a criminal charge (which, in a reasonable decision, Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn decided to forgo) and has resigned from the Common Council’s Education Committee, which he served as chairman. And it’s terrible publicity as he seeks a new term in office.
Wingo’s mistake was serious, even though he turned the gun over to the school principal when he realized what he had done. Now the principal is on administrative leave while the district investigates. Instead, Wingo should have taken the gun back home. The worst that would have happened is that he’d have been late for his event.
But a child’s graduation is a special moment in anyone’s life. There’s room for the school district to make an exception for him, rather than make an example of him in this matter.