New safety initiatives rolled out by Cleveland Schools as security is thrust into national spotlight

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 10:57 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Just one day after the deadly shooting at a Tennessee elementary school, teachers, parents, and leaders in Cleveland voiced concerns over student safety.

“We’ve been making a really big push for a safe spring for our kids in and around school,” said Eric Gordon, the CEO and Superintendent of the Cleveland Municipal School District. “As you know as late as [Monday] we saw another school tragedy and we’ve been seeing them around the country.”

He said the district has been working with the city, police department, and RTA to promote safety in areas frequented by students, as well as those identified as potential problem areas.

The district is launching a billboard and bus card campaign called “Stay Safe and Aware,” which Gordon said promotes CMSD’s safety initiative highlighted by an anonymous reporting system.

People concerned about safety can report issues by calling the district hotline at 216-838-SAFE, or online at

Additionally, Gordon said this week the district began partnering with community organizations to place trained civilian volunteers in problem areas to deter crime and violence.

“We’re really working hard to step up all of our efforts to create a safe environment in an around our schools,” said Gordon.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Board of Education officially accepted the latest round of state grant money aimed at boosting security.

Cleveland schools have been awarded a total of $7 million as part of the state’s program, which has granted more than $173 million overall.

A spokesperson for the district told 19 News that the state grant money will be used on adding, repairing, and replacing cameras, crash doors, public address systems, and metal detectors.

“We’ve been pushing for this for a very long time. This isn’t anything new,” said CMSD parent Sunleaf Clark. “Hopefully this will happen. I”m willing to petition... whatever it takes. I’m there.”

For a complete list of statewide grant recipients, click here.