STRONGSVILLE -- The Strongsville Education Association says teachers didn't want to spend Monday striking on the sidewalk instead of working inside their classrooms. They say it's a reality they were dealt.
"We're at our breaking point," said Christine Canning, a spokesperson for the SEA.
"No one wants to shout, no one wants to, but these people are coming in and taking our jobs," said SEA President Tracey Linscott, about substitutes brought in at the last moment when the union voted to strike Sunday evening.
Contract negotiations that began in July stopped Saturday with the school board's final offer. Strongsville Education Association says it had to act.
"We were willing to bargain and make concessions, but the board clearly had another agenda in mind," said Canning, a kindergarten teacher in the district.
"Our choice is take what they are giving us, or stand up for what we believe in and go on strike. And we chose to go on strike," said Linscott, who teaches at Strongsville High School.
They wouldn't specify what portions of the contract are sticking points.
The strike has caused a bitter divide in a district known for excellence. It's ignited a social media frenzy over outbursts union members displayed Sunday.
Teachers say that part leaves them sad.
"I don't think anybody's ever proud that they get that angry, but you know what...we've been through a really rough time," said Linscott.
"We don't want to be here at all. We don't want to be in this labor dispute. Where we should be is in the classrooms with the children. We shouldn't be out here. This isn't what teaching is all about," said Canning.
Some parents, like Rebecca Ciccozzi, praise those who were inside teaching so her child can learn. She stood outside with a sign today too, that read, "My child is inside learning thanks to the those who are inside teaching."
"The people who they are supposed to be looking up to are standing outside, blocking the driveways, not wanting them to go to school. And I just don't understand why that's okay," she said.
"You know, the teachers, well, we can't negotiate so we're going to take our ball and go home, that's not sending a very good message to the students at the school right now," said Sam Kelley, who has a child at the high school.
Teachers with SEA say everyone should go home while a deal is worked out. When that could happen? No one knows.
"The best solution is to close the schools, have both parties sit down, and see if we can come to an agreement," said Linscott.
Nearly all parties agree, the sooner the better.
But the union is willing to wait it out to get what it wants.
"It may take a little time. It may take a week or two, but I'm hopeful we will get back together and resolve this," said Canning.
There are no negotiation meetings scheduled this week.