Remembering Ravenna teachers strike, longest in Ohio history

12:11 AM, Mar 5, 2013   |    comments
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RAVENNA -- When Jim Lovelace turned on the TV, the memories came flooding back.

"Definitely flashback time," he said. "The first thing I thought of, was the strike in Ravenna."

Lovelace's high school memories are made of picket signs, confrontational demonstrators, and a year in which there was limited learning for students.

He was a senior at Ravenna High School in 1981, when teachers in the district walked off the job over a $300 pay raise.

The strike dragged on for 5 months.

"We finished football season. They went on strike, and they were on strike until April, basically," he remembers.

Thus, the "lost year" was some former students called it. They still had prom, and graduation, but as for classroom instruction?

"All you had to do was show up and you got a pretty decent grade. I learned how to play euchre [card game]."

That's not much unlike what's happening in Strongsville, after teachers went on strike Monday morning. Cell phone video and photos shot by students inside the school, show packed classrooms, vandalism in a bathroom, and students playing cards in the library.

Lovelace's old high school sits as a huge pile of rubble right now, recently demolished after a new Ravenna High School was built a few miles away. But he and his former classmates hope the lessons from the strike of 1981 will endure.

"Back in the 70's before our strike, there were several school strikes, and since then, there haven't been so many," he said. "So I think a lot was learned from that and I hope it's learned here [in Strongsville]."

Because for students -- there are no winners in a lost year.

"The kids are the one who lose in situations like this. Always."



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