Akron teachers say they intend to go on strike if ongoing negotiations are not met

ACRON, Ohio — Tensions are high as the Akron Educational Association releases new details about teachers’ intention to go on strike next month.

This comes after months of frustration from teachers who complain mainly about the safety of the school.

“I feel like I’m struggling,” said Cherish Vinson, a parent from the county. “I feel like I’m fighting.”

Now Akron Public School officials are in for a tough battle as teachers have announced their intention to go on strike in less than two weeks.

“It’s devastating. We’ve been doing this for almost a year. AEA sat down to the negotiating table in good faith,” said Akron Educational Association President Pat Ship.

The Akron Education Association issued the notice Thursday, citing school safety as one of the many reasons behind their decision.

“Something must be done. It got to the point where we have metal detectors where our kids are not safe,” Vinson said.

Vinson has an Akron public school student who was involved in what the letter describes as internal student bullying.

“My son goes to Ellet High School,” Vinson explained. “There was an incident involving another child where it was essentially a fight that turned into something that could have been avoided.”

While son Vinson has physically recovered from the incident, mentally, she says, it’s a different story.

“He worries about his grades. He’s worried about going back to school and we’re actively looking for a psychologist now,” Vinson said.

Now Vinson tells me he’s worried about his well-being.

“At times he feels like he doesn’t belong in the school, but some teachers have emphasized that,” Vinson said.

Additional reasons teachers say they are on strike have to do with the fact that they are being paid, which they believe does not keep qualified teachers.

“We believe that even after almost a year of negotiations, the board team did not sit down at the negotiating table in good faith. They don’t listen to us and in many cases refuse to answer the questions we have to access the information,” Shipe said.

News 5 has contacted Akron Public Schools but has yet to receive a response.

In the meantime, if the issues are not resolved, the teachers are going to go on strike on Monday, January 9, that is, only three days after the students return from winter break.

“Something needs to be done with the APS schools and also with the police department. Make sure safety comes first,” Vinson said.

Once again, to clarify, teachers don’t go on strike.

The law requires 10 days’ notice, so if negotiations are not held between now and January 9 with ongoing contract discussions, pickets will be organized in the morning.

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