EXCLUSIVE: Striking Strongsville teacher who crossed the picket line tells her side of the story

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio - One of two Strongsville teachers who crossed the picket line last week said she disagreed with striking to settle an argument "for a long, long time."

"I was opposed from it from day one," said the teacher who we decided not to identify.

Strongsville teachers voted to strike on March 3, but this educator voted against it. The next morning, the teachers began walking the picket lines.

Teachers have been out of the classrooms more than six weeks, something that has sharply divided the southwest Cuyahoga County community.

It took the math teacher five weeks to decide to go against her colleagues and go back to class. She was part of the picket line outside of the high school "for a while," but found it too emotional and moved to another school.

"Some of the bullying tactics I don't approve of and, at the end of the first week, I knew at that point I couldn't stand on the picket line," she explained.

The teacher called it the most emotional time in her professional career, deciding first to strike and then to cross the picket line and go back to teaching.

"I missed my students terribly. I had to do what was right in my heart."

Three teachers and a guidance counselor never went on strike.

Those inside the school have been very supportive, the math teacher said.

"I think education is taking place but it is not the same quality as when the teachers are there."

The Strongsville Board of Education offered the teachers what they call their "final, best offer." Teachers offered the board binding interest arbitration.

Neither side has accepted.   

The anonymous teacher said there was outrage on social media that she crossed the picket line, with some Strongsville Education Association members even blaming her and the other teacher for talks "breaking off" because they crossed.

This educator said her decision wasn't based on finances, while noting, "I see both sides of it."

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