Questions over children's safety when it comes to voting in local schools - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Questions over children's safety when it comes to voting in local schools

"They either have your ID on file already, or you give them your ID to show that you're actually the parent of a child, or guardian."  Dawn Wright said both of her children attend Andy Woods Elementary in Tyler. 

She said she appreciates those extra security measures.

But on election day, the library at Woods--and at more than a dozen TISD campuses--will be full of strangers, exercising their right to vote.

"It's a little nerve racking," Wright said.

Dr. Bobby Stinson is a history professor at Texas College.  He said he understands safety is an issue, but so is social responsibility.

"These people are coming in to express their right to vote," he said.  "Under the Constitution, we have that right, and I think our students need to be aware of that."

But does that mean all those year-round safety measures fly out of the window.

Angela Jenkins with TISD didn't think so. 

"It's not as if we have visitors coming into the campus to have contact with the students and staff," she said.  "They are there for another activity."

Jenkins said the district is anticipating high voter turnout.  Additional security has been hired to staff polling locations.  Special attention is also being paid to choosing exactly where voters cast their ballots.

"Some of those locations that have been decided are gyms where there are external doors so the voters can go into that location, conduct their voting, and then leave," she said.

"You have to just trust that they're good people and they're going in to do their voting, and they're not going in to harm your children," said Wright.

The Smith County Elections Administrator, Karen Chaney, said her office sits down with officials from both parties every election cycle to set polling locations. 

She said school facilities are traditionally chosen as polling places because they have the space to accommodate the people and equipment.

Layron Livingston, Reporting

Powered by Frankly