Parents and guardians used Thursday evening’s livestreamed Q&A session with district CEO Eric Gordon to ask serious questions about security in and around school buildings.
The district is reeling from the death of Pierre McCoy, a John Adams College & Career Academy student who was shot and killed at a bus stop outside the high school Tuesday afternoon.
“Why is there so little [school security] presence before and after school?” a parent asked Gordon at the start of the Facebook session.
“What is the district doing to improve school safety?” another viewer added in the chat.
Gordon said one of the safety challenges the district faces is security staffing. He said the district is working to increase coordination with GCRTA police, Cleveland Police, and district security staff to boost police presence at schools when students are arriving and leaving.
Gordon spoke about gun violence as a community problem that needs community solutions, not an issue limited to CMSD.
“We have a very small mobile force, so we cannot be at every high school,” Gordon said “After school and before school is community time, and so we need the presence of our other law enforcement.”
Going forward, Gordon said, there will be an increased police presence during those times of day, particularly at John Adams and other high schools.
Gordon said another security upgrade will let Cleveland police see what’s happening outside school buildings using existing school security cameras. Police got access to cameras at John Adams and John F. Kennedy High School this week, and the district hopes to give Cleveland police access to the cameras at all CMSD high schools.
GCRTA bus route schedules are another issue Gordon said could be improved. The bus McCoy was waiting for when he was killed usually arrives 50 minutes after the end of the school day, Gordon said.
Gordon said he is looking to coordinate with GCRTA to change bus routes that stop in front of schools to better correspond with the school day.
The livestream Q&A, which was planned before the shooting at John Adams, also briefly touched on other topics, including student involvement in Mayor Justin Bibb’s new gun violence prevention strategy, new efforts to attract more educators to the district, and upcoming community meetings about the selection of a new district CEO to replace Eric Gordon when he leaves office at the end of June.