Lawsuits, Columbine...Election Day? That seems to be the thought process for many a school district contemplating November 4th and worried that their schools can't safely serve as polling stations and learning environments at the same time. That's why Illinois's Indian Prairie school system cancelled classes for the day. Allentown, Indiana's schools, on the other hand, are simply refusing to host voters this year. Voting will take place in churches and other public spaces instead. We can't let every "Tom, Dick and Harry walk in the front door," explains John Weicker, school security director for neighboring Fort Wayne. Not everyone is convinced. Kathy Christie, chief of staff at the Education Commission of States, calls the decisions a "knee-jerk reaction." We couldn't agree more. "It breaks my heart to think we are losing the opportunity to send a very strong message to children about their civic duties," she explained. Ours, too.
"Safety Concerns Eclipse Civic Lessons as Schools Cancel Classes on Election Day," by Karen Ann Cullotta, New York Times, October 18, 2008