Strongsville teachers, who two weeks ago staged a silent protest about contract talks at a school board meeting, broke their silence Thursday night, chanting loudly and holding signs before and during a board meeting.
The teachers also made a non-verbal statement by wearing large buttons that read, "I don't want to strike but I will."
Hundreds of teachers chanted things like "settle now" and "fair contract" as school board members and administrators walked into the meeting.
Strongsville police were called to keep too many people from entering the meeting room, which is able to hold no more than 100.
A couple hundred other teachers lined the hallway outside, the front of the building and the parking lot shouting "Let us in" as the meeting went on.
They also chanted "Do the right thing, John" and "Shame on you, John" at Superintendent John Krupinski, gathering under the windows to make sure they were heard.
Two teachers spoke during the meeting. One, Michael Scott, a math teacher at Strongsville High School, said school officials had only offered "ridiculous proposals" at the bargaining table and shown "appalling levels of disrespect" to the teachers.
After the meeting, Krupinski repeated what he said Jan. 17 after 300 teachers showed up at a board meeting.
"They have every right to be here, and every right to express their concerns," he said.
After the January meeting, Tracy Linscott, president of the Strongsville Education Association, said teachers attended the meeting "in order to demonstrate our frustration with the lack of progress in negotiations."
The last round of teacher contract negotiations lasted nine months and ended with a two-year deal that included a salary freeze and no step pay increases for the 2011-12 school year.
That deal, finalized in March 2011, saved the district about $2 million, officials said. It also called for teachers to take on extra duties during the school day and to contribute more to their health insurance costs.
The contract was retroactive to Aug. 1, 2010 and expired June 30, 2012.