Akron public schools riddled with violence, distressing parents and teachers alike

Violence and fear are now said to be commonplace in Ohio’s Akron Public Schools, reportedly putting both students and staff in harm’s way on a daily basis. 

In the past week alone, there have been fights between students, stabbings and a bomb threat. At least one fight resulted in police intervention, with 14 cruisers and a police wagon being present at the scene. 

Pat Shipe, President of the Akron Education Association, told local news that physical assaults of school staff occur daily, blaming the pandemic for making a bad situation even worse.  

School violence increased nationwide during the pandemic, and the CDC also reported a significant rise in suicide attempts among adolescents.  

The alarming proliferation of violence caused Akron parents to have serious misgivings about the competence of public school management.  

“I, as a parent, cannot send my child to school every day wondering if they’re going to come home,” one parent told the press anonymously.  

Shipe also bemoaned the lack of consequences for students who engage in violent behavior.  

In the first quarter of the 2021-22 school year, there were 187 disciplinary hearings and no expulsions. In the first quarter of the current school year, there was a 33% increase in disciplinary hearings (249) and only five expulsions.  

In response to the violence the district’s superintendent and chief of security, as well as the mayor, all released statements affirming their commitment to teacher and student safety.  

However, there is little evidence anything has been done to improve the situation.  

“We are waving red flags like we’ve never before waved them,” Shipe said. “We are not being listened to. We are being dismissed. We are being disrespected.”  

“Where is the empathy for these teachers that are being cussed at – teachers being assaulted, students being afraid in school?” asked a local parent identified as Teresa. “Two stabbings, now, we’ve had within a month. When is enough, enough?”