AKRON, Ohio — Tensions are high as the Akron Education Association release new details regarding an intent to strike from teachers next month.
It comes after months of frustration from teachers who have been complaining mainly about school safety and security.
“I feel like I’m fighting,” said Cherish Vinson, a parent in the district. “I feel like I’m fighting.”
A tough battle now awaits Akron Public School officials as teachers have now filed an intent to strike in less than two weeks.
“It’s devastating. We’ve been doing this for almost a year. AEA has been going to the negotiation table in good faith,” said Akron Education Association President, Pat Shipe.
The Akron Education Association sent the notice on Thursday, citing school safety and security as one of many contributing causes for their decision.
“Something has to be done. It’s to the point where we have metal detectors where our children are not safe,” said Vinson.
Vinson has an Akron Public Schools student who has been involved in what the letter describes as internal student aggression.
“My son is a student at Ellet High School,” explained Vinson. “There was an incident involving another child where it was basically a fight that turned into something that could’ve been avoided.”
While Vinson’s son has physically recovered from this incident, mentally, she says it’s a different story.
“He is worried about his grades. He’s worried about going back to school and we are actively seeking counseling right now,” said Vinson.
Now, Vinson tells me she is concerned for his well-being.
“At times he feels like he didn’t belong in the school, but that was something that was stressed by some teachers,” said Vinson.
Additional reasons teachers say they are striking are due to what they’re being paid, which they argue does not retain qualified teachers.
“We believe even after almost a year of negotiating, the board’s team is not coming to the negotiating table in good faith. They are not listening to us, and in many cases, they’re refusing to answer questions that we have to access information,” said Shipe.
News 5 reached out to Akron Public Schools but has yet to hear back.
In the meantime, if matters aren’t resolved, teachers are set to strike Monday, Jan. 9, which is just three days after student return from winter break.
“Something needs to be done in conjunction with APS schools as well as the police department. Make sure that safety is the first thing,” said Vinson.
Again, just to clarify, teachers are not on strike.
The law requires a 10-day notice, so if negotiations aren’t met between now and Jan. 9 with ongoing contract discussions, then picket lines will be set up that morning.
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