Editorial: Does CMSD vetting process need drastic overhaul?

DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - In a recent letter, Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon called on the system's employees to back the police and security officers who protect students, teachers, and staff.

The letter was in direct response to an ongoing investigation by Carl Monday and his team into CMSD's hiring practices.

In praising his police officers, Gordon could not have been referring to the officers mentioned in Monday's reports. Carl's investigation showed how Cleveland schools hired officers who had been fired or asked to resign from other police departments. Reasons ranged from sexual battery to watching porn on the mayor's computer to mishandling of a firearm. One officer worked for 10 different departments and was disciplined 14 times in one year. CMSD says its vetting process meets Ohio Department of Education guidelines.

If that's the case, then those guidelines need a drastic overhaul.

Even after they are hired, we found that Cleveland schools seem reluctant to deal with officers who go looking for trouble -- like the officer with six DUIs or the other officer caught on a school surveillance camera in what looks like inappropriate behavior.

Gordon says CMSD remains committed to safe schools for our kids. We don't doubt the CEO's commitment but we aren't sure Gordon sees these few bad officers for the very real risks they are, giving the good ones a bad rap and in the process putting student safety in question.

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