My name is Larry Scott. I’m running for an at-large seat on the Buffalo Board of Education. I’ve been a parent activist in the district for the past 5 years. I live in North Buffalo and I was one of the founders of a parent group called the Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization (BPTO).
I’m a proud, involved father of two boys at public school #81 and a baseball coach for North Park Youth Baseball League. I am a school psychologist in a neighboring school district, currently working as an Alternative to Suspension Specialist with middle school youth.
Prior to becoming a school psychologist, I worked for Erie County Child and Family Services at Connor’s Children’s Center, a residential home for children with severe emotional and behavioral needs. My experience working here remains one of my most profound, personally and professionally, and determined my career in public education and my mission to advocate for children.
My wife, Alexus, is a trained teacher who now runs Rolly Pollies gym in North Buffalo. My mother and father were raised on the West Side and attended Buffalo Public Schools. My mother, a retired bank vice president, is a graduate of Lafayette High School and my father is a former manager of the Tops on Niagara Street.
I have seen my parents as committed and determined leaders in their work, but always humble and understanding for the struggles of others; from my mother understanding a family crisis of an employee to my father still bagging groceries and pushing carts as the store manager. They led by example and have impressed these values upon me.
I spent a great deal of my childhood with my late maternal grandparents, who immigrated to the United States from Italy. I was very close with my grandfather and have many great memories of my time with him. Yet, it was my experience as a young adult of just sitting and exchanging stories with him, that most affected me. This taught me the great power and healing in telling stories, sharing your struggles, and, having someone listen to your story, to your struggle. It instilled in me the value of listening and understanding others, relationships, and community. As an indication that I am living up to this, let me share a few thoughts from a seventh grade student in a letter she gave me last year:
You understand everything we want to stand for and how we wanted everything to change for the better. You understand each way we could fix or change something. Thank you for everything you’ve done to make this year better.
Moving Buffalo Schools Forward, Together
I think it is time we have a strong parent voice who is passionate about public education and youth on the board. Under the “Education Bargain with Students & Parents”, Buffalo Schools are on the rise. Nevertheless, we have much more work to do.
We need a central registration office that is transparent, accessible and responsive to parents, and provides timely placement determinations.
We need adequate, timely, and safe transportation for all of our students- elementary and secondary, public, private, and charter.
We need safe and inclusive schools, which educate the whole child, including their social-emotional needs and mental health.
We need adequate funding for our city schools and a real investment in art, music, libraries, mental health, reading and math specialists, accelerated and advanced placement courses, trauma informed care, restorative practices, culturally and linguistically responsive teaching, and innovative career and technical education and trades.
We need to foster relationships between educators, parents, and families, and be sure we are including them in critical decisions involving our schools and students. Our children are better served if our teachers and staff, are valued, supported, and included.
As an at-large board member, I pledge to represent all of our schools- from the East Side to the West Side, from North Buffalo to South Buffalo- all of our students, regardless of zip code, race, country of origin, disability, gender identity/orientation, religion, economic status, or primary language.
We have prevailed many battles, but, the war on public education still rages. We must move forward and continue the important work to provide a public education that provides quality, access, and opportunity for all. We must keep racism and the exploitation of our public tax dollars and our children for profiteering, away from our Board of Education.
Democracy is a constant process, one which the public has a right and responsibility to participate in, especially with the public education of our children. As a board member, I pledge to uphold the democratic principles of public participation, accountability, and transparency, which a public education deserves and requires.
Let’s move Buffalo Schools forward, together!