Strongsville moms group partners with police department for self-defense workshop

STRONGSVILLE, OH (WOIO) - Last month's murder of popular Strongsville Middle School teacher Melinda Pleskovic stunned the community and had women voicing concerns about safety.

Police arrested Jeffrey Scullin a week after Pleskovic's body was discovered inside her home. Scullin was engaged to Pleskovic's daughter.

After the crime, discussions within the Strongsville Moms Discuss It! Facebook page brought up a variety of issues. It prompted the group's creator, Rachel Petrick, to act.

"When this tragic event happened, first of all everyone was scared." Petrick said. "They were scared to be go out shopping at night... Scared to be home alone. We wanted to do something for the community as well and to honor those that have fallen."

Petrick reached out to the Strongsville Police Department. She got in touch with Patrolwoman Marianna Hansen who agreed to hold a safety and self-defense workshop.

"With the advent of technology and different crime trends, we've been updating it so that it's relevant for today," Hansen said.

Petrick said more than 60 people have responded. It's open to anyone but the materials and demonstrations are targeted to women.

"We want women to feel empowered and not feel scared." Petrick said. "No woman should feel scared. In this day and age, I think we all need to know to defend ourselves. It's a scary world, and we need to prepare ourselves."

The event is Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Pathway Church located at 21211 Drake Road in Strongsville.

Donations are also being accepted to help support the Pleskovic family and the family of Christal Shaver. Shaver was murdered in 2016 in North Royalton. Her boyfriend, Jeffrey Greiner, was recently found guilty of the crime and sent to prison.

"Something unique - very unique - is that both women their favorite color was purple," Petrick said. "So, we're asking all women to come out and wear purple especially in their honor.

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