Cleveland teachers prepare for Officer Michael Brelo's verdict - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Cleveland teachers prepare for Officer Michael Brelo's verdict

Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo is on trial for two shooting deaths after a police chase in 2012. (Source: WOIO) Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo is on trial for two shooting deaths after a police chase in 2012. (Source: WOIO)
Reporter Dan DeRoos shows the district's letter to a parent. (Source: WOIO) Reporter Dan DeRoos shows the district's letter to a parent. (Source: WOIO)
We've seen a lot of different factions, from the city to police, and now even the schools are trying to be prepared for when Officer Michael Brelo's verdict comes some time in the next two weeks. In Cleveland, a letter was sent to teachers tasking them with a very important job.
 
The letter, signed by the schools' CEO Eric Gordon and Teachers Union President David Quolke, was sent to all Cleveland Metropolitan School District teachers. It asks for the teachers' help and support as the Brelo verdict nears, but it lets them decide how to handle the situation. 

Dear CMSD Educator,

We are reaching out to you today to ask for your help and support as we anticipate the announcement of a verdict in the Michael Brelo case in the next few days. We don't yet know what the verdict will be, but we can anticipate that a decision either to convict or acquit has the potential to generate huge controversy and conflict in our community. 

While we have struggled together on a number of important issues facing our district and community, we both strongly believe that our CMSD Educators are well prepared to help and support our students, their families, and each other. In fact, it is because of the District's and CTU's collective commitment to our Humanware and Social Emotional Learning strategy over the past seven years that we are so confident that we are prepared for these challenges. 

Over the next few days, the District will be preparing to support our students, families and educators by ensuring that our school safety plan is integrated with other Cleveland agencies, by being ready to determine if schools should be opened or closed and under what circumstances, by communicating with students and families and with educators, and by providing model curriculum to teachers and other educators to help students manage the feelings and reactions they have.

This is where we need your help. Over the next few days, both before the verdict is announced and especially when it is announced, please take time to help your students find their voice on the difficult issues our community is facing. Please take time to talk with your students about how they might be feeling, how they think students should or could respond, why they think students in Baltimore may have responded in the way they did, what students might be able to do in a positive way to make their voices heard, etc. 

As teachers and leaders, you know your students best so only you can decide how best to help them find their voice. Whether it's in school assemblies, class meetings, lunchroom table talks, social studies classes or even as you wrap up class for a day, giving our students the opportunity to think out loud will help all of our students process these incredibly tough issues.

We are both proud of Cleveland, our students, families and educators, and of the great social-emotional learning work we have done over the past seven years to help our students build the self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making that they need in order to tackle these complex community issues.

Thank you in advance for your support. You are greatly appreciated!

Sincerely,

David Quolke and Eric Gordon


We showed the letter to parents and grandparents and most feel it's a good idea.

"The teachers are with the kids more than the parents and they know what's going on when the parents not around," says Keith Stone, who has a fifth grader.
 
"I think it's good for them to have what the student is openly feeling within them. Because at this given time, they are confused," says Lucille Dillard, who has grandchildren in the CMSD system.
 
"It's not always on the parent. It's also on the schools that can help out also," says Andre Weaver, the father of a second grader.

But Nichole Lloyd, who has two kids in high school, doesn't believe the classroom is the place.

"It should be discussed at home. Parents should be discussing it with kids, not the teachers. They have, giving them too much leeway anyway. They need to be worried about educating them not topics like this," says Lloyd.
 
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