Parents express anger during first Strongsville Board of Education meeting since teachers' strike

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio - Dozens of parents on both sides of the strike left Strongsville's Thursday night board of educating meeting fuming mad.

The meeting, held inside the Strongsville High School's auditorium, was the first since the strike began. Three previous meetings were canceled due to what members called disruption from picketing and chanting union members.

On Thursday, only Strongsville Teachers Association members who have children in the school district attended the meeting. All other members wore green and stood as one long wall along Lunn Road to avoid any cancelations by the BOE on account of them.

"It's not about SEA, it's about the students, that their needs are not being met. So we're glad the parents of Strongsville finally get an opportunity to get their parents answered," SEA President Tracy Linscott said.

The meeting began at 7 p.m. and went through an agenda before matters of the strike were discussed. Once the floor finally opened to people to speak, it was almost one after another speaking in favor of the school board.

"I commend the board of education and all those involved with the ongoing negotiations," said the first speaker. The second, a young student said, "I personally think that the teachers are acting very irresponsibly."

 "They bully beyond comprehension, and my children and myself no longer have respect for them," said another.

While NewsChannel5 was there, most who spoke slammed the teachers union for the past seven weeks the Strongsville teachers strike has been in place. 

But frustrations of the "other side" not getting a say, began to quickly rise. Steven Arroyo got up and walked out of the meeting.

"I'm just totally disgusted. I'm ashamed of this board, the BOE, I mean, we had 11 speakers in a row that were stacked," Arroyo said.

While the back and forth went on Thursday night, one thing was very clear: the split and dissension amongst Strongsville residents.

One woman described exactly that as she cried into the microphone.

"I have a neighbor who's a teacher. He's a great guy, but I'm afraid to talk to him," she said.

 "If they can't come to a compromise, then somebody else needs to make the choice," said Kim Scott, a parent and a teacher calling for arbitration.

Some parents thanked the BOE for not budging and brought up the teacher's actions.

"What I have to say to the SEA is: shame on you," said one parent.

While NewsChannel5 attended the meeting, the BOE did not give mention of a possible end to the strike.

Board members did discuss a possible solution to the grading issues that have been brought up since day one of the strike. It was suggested there be an overall grade for the January to June period instead of two separate grades for two separate quarters. That decision will have to go to a vote.

Throughout all this, there was still no word Thursday night on when the next meeting with both sides and the federal mediator will be. 

The SEA is expected to make an 8:30 a.m. announcement Friday.

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