Cleveland teachers share thoughts on safety and demand action after Nashville shooting

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 7:34 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Neighborhood teachers are once again asking themselves serious questions on safety after a Tennessee shooting took the lives of 3 adults and 3 children.

“As long as we don’t address the issue of gun violence, we’re going to see this everywhere,” said Shari Obrenski, president of the Cleveland Teachers Union.

19 News visited the union’s headquarters on Euclid Avenue to hear directly from professionals in the classroom. Obrenski explained she was a teacher during the Columbine Shootings, and these conversations don’t get any easier: “It never gets less shocking, unfortunately it only gets more frequent.”

Rosa Cruz Morales is also a teacher at Lincoln West High School. She says questions about safety are even reaching Cleveland parents.

“The families are like ‘were not going to send our kids to school if it’s not safe,’” she said.

Both members say these conversations are challenging, but add now is a time for action. Obrenski says she already sees potential safety solutions, including background checks and assault weapon bans. She believes, though, it’s up to political leaders to enact and incorporate said changes.

“They don’t seem to have the political will to fix it,” she said.

It’s a legislative holdup that’s making many teachers reconsider their careers altogether. “Some teachers are like: ‘hey I’m ready to retire if this continues, if the government isn’t going to do anything to protect our kids, why do I want to be here?’” Cruz said.

As leaders across the country continue to reel and determine next steps, teachers like Cruz will move forward—confident that schools can and will be safer.

“I want to be hopeful,” she said, “Otherwise I wouldn’t be where I’m at.”