A Big Election Day Raises Student Security Concerns

Child safety worries could prompt districts to cancel class on November 4.


Child safety concerns could prompt some school districts across the nation to cancel classes and keep students away from voters on Election Day.

The measures schools use to monitor visitors might be difficult to enforce November 4 when thousands of voters descend upon polls located at their community schools.

"On Election Day, you don't know who is visiting a school to vote and who is entering a school under the auspice of voting," says School Safety Advocacy Council President Sean Burke. "They do have a right to vote, but that doesn't mean it's safe for them to be around children."

But alternatives to schools aren't easy to find in some communities. Officials in one Illinois school district considered moving their polling locations out of school buildings but couldn't. Instead, Indian Prairie Parents' Council President Robin Church successfully lobbied to have all election days in an upcoming calendar year coincide with student nonattendance days. Schools play "a traditional role in elections, and now this role will not have to conflict with safety of students in our school district," Church says.

2008 presidential election
public schools