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Cleveland schools CEO says district working on changes after student's shooting death

Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon at a podium announcing the PRE4CLE preschool plan. Behind him is a wall of educational words and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson seated.
Nick Castele
Ideastream Public Media
Cleveland schools CEO Eric Gordon.

Eric Gordon, the CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, said Thursday the district is working to make several improvements to school safety after an 18-year-old student was shot and killed this week at a bus stop outside of John Adams College and Career Academy high school.

Gordon said in a livestreamed question-and-answer session that, often, students are waiting more than 50 minutes after school ends for a Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority bus. Pierre McCoy, 18, was shot and killed by an unidentified person while waiting for the bus.

Gordon said the district is working with RTA to synch the bus schedule with the end of school.

“That leaves a long time for students outside of school,” Gordon said. “So we’re working with the RTA to see if we can’t get those routes adjusted so that the buses are coming to the school much more close to dismissal as another preventative measure.”

Gordon also said the school district will have increased police presence at John Adams school for the rest of the year.

Meanwhile, the district is trying to hasten progress on sharing its camera feeds with police so that they can get a better idea of what’s going on outside of schools.

These measures come as two other CMSD students were shot and killed outside CMSD schools this school year, one outside Glenville High School and another a block away from Rhodes High School.

Gordon said the problem of gun violence isn’t just a CMSD problem, though.

We really need a community response. Mayor Bibb has laid out a (violence) prevention framework. We are seeing better coordination of policing services, but this is going to require a community response,” he said. “I also want to remind everyone that, internally, our buildings do still all have metal detectors to keep guns out of our buildings, bookbag scanners and everything.”

Gordon noted the school district has had two events now with CMSD students, through the Civics 2.0 initiative, where students are coming up with their own solutions to the problem of gun violence.

Gordon said grief counselors and psychologists will continue to be at John Adams in the near future to help students and staff affected by the shooting.

He also reminded students and staff to speak up when they see things that don’t look right.

“If you see something, say something,” Gordon said.

Conor Morris is the education reporter for Ideastream Public Media.