Asphalt Thrown Through Window After Strongsville Meeting

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GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio -- As the Strongsville teachers strike entered the third week, another report of vandalism has occurred.

A chunk of asphalt the size of a football was reportedly thrown through a window at the Northeastern Ohio Education Association building in Garfield Heights over the weekend.

That’s the location where the Strongsville teachers union and school administration met separately with a federal mediator Sunday and where the union held a press conference Saturday.

Strongsville Education Association President Tracy Linscott doesn’t know who is doing it but said she knows who isn’t to blame.

“It’s certainly not teachers doing that, and I’m sure it’s not board members doing that,” said Linscott.

NEOEA's Bill Lavezzi said the asphalt incident happened sometime between 5:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Saturday. He said someone threw a large piece of asphalt through one of the front doors of the building.

According to a statement released by NEOEA, "There is no proof that the vandalism was directed at our organization. However, worker intimidation has been a management tactic from the beginning of the labor movement, and we have heard reports of vandalism of strikers' property during the current strike, so we would be foolish to assume that the timing of Saturday's vandalism was coincidental."

Linscott thinks people are hearing misinformation on both sides and are taking matters into their own hands.

Since the start of the strike, both sides have had members suffer property damage from egged and keyed cars to rocks thrown through a windshield and slashed tires.

“We know people are very upset about it, and we wish they could direct their anger in an appropriate way,” said Linscott.

Linscott said one rumor she heard is that teachers are to blame for missing equipment in their classrooms. But she said they were told prior to the strike by administrators to remove everything that they purchased or it would be thrown out.

“I think both sides are concerned that there are people who disagree with one side or the other, and they’re taking matters into their own hands destroying personal property,” said Linscott.

The school board and superintendent could not be reached for comment on the latest incident but did give a statement on the strike Sunday.

“We have made our last best offer which reflects the economic realities our district must operate  a balanced budget,” said Superintendent John Krupinski.

Krupinski also said that despite the tension created by the strike they will strive to create a safe environment for students.

“I can reassure them that we’re going to do best we possibly can to keep our buildings open and educate our students to the best of our abilities in these challenging times,” said Krupinski.

No new talks are scheduled at this time.

Although the union has expressed interest in meeting at the bargaining table, the school board has said it will only meet with a federal mediator.

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