Brown County schools to close for Election Day

Brown County Schools will be closed for Election Day Nov. 8.

The school board unanimously approved the decision May 19. Board member Steve Miller Jr. brought up the idea at the May 5 meeting.

The three elementary schools are used as polling places for Jackson, Hamblen and Van Buren townships.

Miller said he heard reports of parents having to cross State Road 135 South to get their small children from Van Buren Elementary School due to traffic on the primary election day May 3, “which I didn’t like to hear,” he said.

He also expressed concerns about having strangers come into the buildings to vote when school is in session. “We go through such efforts to keep kids safe, and then you have every Tom, Dick and Harry come through there, really, just to vote,” he said.

“You don’t know if some are there to vote or not. They could have some negative intentions, but it’s just kind of scary to think about. A bad apple using that day to come in and do something bad knowing that the security is lapsed, basically.”

Vice President Carol Bowden and Secretary Stephanie Kritzer agreed with Miller. “The kiddos were stuck indoors all day because it was raining. They had lunches in their rooms because they couldn’t go to the cafeteria,” Bowden said. “It totally disrupts the three buildings.”

Superintendent David Shaffer said voters enter and exit in places separate from students, “but I can’t dispute your point that we have a lot of people in the building that day with children in the building,” he said.

“We’re in a different day and age in 2016 than we have been in past years,” he said.

Shaffer said he would like to see the elementary buildings continue to be poll locations.

To accommodate the change in the school calendar, April 14 will now be a student day instead of a snow make-up day, Shaffer said.