Keep Those Terrifying Creeps…er…Voters Out of Our Schools!

Here’s an Election Day screed — not by me. But I am with this mom, every word, and wondering if this is happening out by you, too. (I know I asked before, but I’m wondering how to find out if this is truly a growing trend. Anybody know? If so, it deserves more press!) For good effect, I’m re-running my “Strangers eathbsrfzk
in the Schools”
 video, written by me, sung and produced by Deviant Ollam.

Dear Free-Range Kids: I am currently in a Facebook dispute with the president of the PTO and other moms regarding whether we need to move the polling place from our small suburban elementary school, where people have voted for decades.  I have been told that “Cannot be too cautious when it comes to our little ones. There are not problems but the best defense is always a good offense!” and “Too many crazies in the world today.” They are suggesting alternatives that are not even close to the precinct, which is primarily low to middle income residential neighborhoods.  Having actually looked at the precinct map, I believe there is one church on a rural road at the very corner of the precinct.   Meanwhile, everyone is familiar with the school.  These women are already over-involved parents who are constantly requesting volunteers and  home-baked treats for teachers, but working to make voting less convenient is taking things too far.   They, of course, pointed out the fact that I did not attend the PTO meetings, where these concerns have been discussed — because I would rather be tortured. 
I am sharing this mostly so I can calm down and don’t write something I will regret, and to thank you for running a website that makes me realize I’m not a crazy, reckless career woman who doesn’t care about my kids. – Voting Mom 


Strangers in the schools, I look askance as

Strangers fill the schools, let’s take no chances

What if they have come with a grenade or two?


Something in their eyes, it’s so forboding

Look at how they smile, they say they’re “voting”

Something in my heart, tells me they’re perverts too!


Strangers in the schools!

Yes,  they’re my neighbors, but they’re strangers in the schools!

And at that moment when they walk into the gym, hope for life grows dim

Bludgeon all the kids they may, to celebrate Election Day.


So — If you want your kids avoiding dangers

Never let your kids encounter strangers

Strangers like the ghouls who go and vote in schools.

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67 Responses to Keep Those Terrifying Creeps…er…Voters Out of Our Schools!

  1. ASC November 4, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    The schools in our district give the kids the day off on election day while the teachers attend in-school training/enrichment of some sort or another. Like voting is made any more convenient by needing to take the day off from work because your kids are out of school. I remember election day in my school well, and it seemed the most natural thing to have the school serve as the polling place. It was also a great way to introduce, first-hand, community civics, learn how to take a straw poll, hold mock elections, discuss the latent issues of the day, etc. It seemed to be part of the fabric of our first week in November!

  2. Stacie November 4, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

    My son’s school (K3-1st grade right now) has instituted background checking for parent volunteers who want to help with the drop-off line.

    This task involves 15 minutes of assisting the littles (some of whom are 3 or 4) out of their car seats and making sure they head toward the door of the school (where a teacher or aide is supervising) and not into the street. This all happens in broad daylight, in full view of the parents who drive the children in as well as numerous other adults who work at the school or who walk their kids to school.

    And to think, when we were kids (and there were just as many crazies in the world), parents could not only volunteer at school without a background check, they could chaperone field trips and drive children in their own cars. I’m not sure I’d welcome random yahoos driving my 4-year-old to the zoo, but riding a bus and walking around the zoo with him in broad daylight? There has to be a happy medium.

  3. Swain November 4, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

    Why don’t the nut jobs keep their precious spawn home on election day, thus avoiding the peril of strange voters in the school? Oh my gosh, how simple. YOU have the problem? You keep it YOUR problem. You don’t make it THE SCHOOL’S problem. You don’t make it EVERY OTHER PARENT’S problem. Go be neurotic in private and let the rest of us get on with our civic duty. Crying out loud….

  4. Greg November 4, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    The PTO doesn’t get to tell the government how to conduct its elections using its buildings. I cannot help but wonder if the busybodies at the PTO aren’t perhaps also concerned with how those low income/minority voters might vote and are perhaps jockeying for a way to keep them out. Perhaps not voter suppression per se, but certainly voter dissuasion going on. The local ACLU might want to hear about this.

  5. Steve S November 4, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    Greg is right. I don’t know where this dispute is, but most places mandate that elections have to be held in accessible, public buildings that are convenient to most voters. Cities can move them, but certainly not solely based on what the PTO says.

  6. Stacy November 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

    I am the Voting Mom. Our district does not have election day off, but I expect that will be an alterative proposal, if they can’t move the polling place. For a couple years now, they’ve had volunteer parents stand at the entrance to make sure the voters go straight into the voting room and do not use the hallway bathroom, but that has apparently been deemed not enough to protect our kids. I am still waiting for one parent from my school to publically agree with me. If I had known this was going to be discussed at the PTO meetings, I might have gone. Or maybe not… These moms do mean well, and I have to see them everywhere I go for another decade or so…

  7. Stacy November 4, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

    Honestly, I don’t think they’re politically aware enough to intentionally disenfranchise anyone. It simply doesn’t occur to them that there are legal requirements for polling places and that their misplaced fears don’t trump voting convenience.

  8. Greg November 4, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    Stacy, I hear you. Still, bringing up the specter of voter suppression may be enough. The local Board of Elections should have plenty to say on the matter.

  9. AJC November 4, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    My polling place used to be our neighborhood elementary school, which happens to be directly across the street from my house. When my kids were young, I loved walking there with them and having them see that I – a busy, working parent – was making time to vote, as were hundreds of people throughout the school day.

    In the past couple of years, all polling places in my city have been moved out of the schools, based on similar fears. Our changes were driven by school administration, rather than busybody parents, but I’m still annoyed.

  10. Laura November 4, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

    So funny bc this issue just came up on my childrens’ school facebook page today. Several parents were worried and alarmed that “strangers” were roaming through the school to go vote. Luckily several people spoke up and basically said it was no big deal. Personally I love it. One stop for me to drop off my kids and go vote!

  11. Lisa November 4, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    This very topic came up last week, when we had municipal elections across Ontario, Canada. A friend – who I previously had thought was a reasonable person – posted that voting shouldn’t be in schools because “you never know”. I responded that I like voting in schools because it’s a chance for neighbours to see each other and helps to foster neighbourhood relations, which in turn makes everyone in our community safer.
    Needless to say, she didn’t respond.

  12. Donna November 4, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    Our polling places are almost all schools. In fact, a couple polling places just relocated from churches to schools. I haven’t heard any complaints from anyone. My only complaint is that my assigned polling place is a different school than the one my child attends making killing two birds with one stone impossible.

    However, when I was a kid in the 70s, schools were closed on election day so that idea is nothing new. I don’t think that the issue was safety, but simply convenience. It is much easier for the citizens to park, come in and vote if everyone else is gone.

  13. Leslie November 4, 2014 at 4:04 pm #

    Just got back from voting at our local elementary school. It doesn’t seem to be a problem here….

  14. Donald November 4, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

    This is about as transparent as a sandwich bag. The hysteria plague is sweeping the western world (giving the rest of the world a catch up or overtake) However the hysteria is only the secondary motive. The primary reason is to hold out (haggle) for the government to pay more to use their facility for the purpose of voting. This is poetic justice. Bureaucrats are a big reason for the hysteria plague in the first place. Why shouldn’t they help foot the bill for the skyrocketing insurance that they themselves helped to create?

  15. marie November 4, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    “Too many crazies in the world today.”

    Yes, and one was elected to PTO president, it seems.

  16. MichaelF November 4, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

    I just voted in one of our town schools, the kids get a half day since the cafeteria’s and gymnasiums are taken up for the voting. So they can’t have lunch at school so a free half-day. There have been no issues. It’s the same as usual, people looking for problems when there are none in order to feel self-satisfied or they don’t feel like they are doing their job as a parent.

  17. BL November 4, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

    “It is much easier for the citizens to park, come in and vote if everyone else is gone.”

    We’d definitely have parking problems if we used schools around here, which we don’t.

    Mostly churches, although this year my precinct changed to the local fire hall, which is right next to a magistrate’s office with plenty of parking. It’s walkable for anyone in the precinct too (less than half a mile, all sidewalked). The schools are a bit out in the countryside.

  18. BL November 4, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

    “Too many crazies in the world today.”

    Luckily, they’re not at your local polling place. They’re all on the ballots instead.

  19. no rest for the weary November 4, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    “you just never know”

    “you never can be too careful”

    I agree with the first statement. You just never know. You never know if your partner might be secretly abusing your kids, or your own parent could be, or various cousins, aunts, and uncles could be, too. You just never know.

    The second statement, no. You absolutely CAN be too careful. For instance when you redirect thousands of people from engaging in a harmless activity because you have a few “what if” thoughts in your vivid imagination. Or when you insist on rules and laws that supposedly support “safety” but end up trashing things like growth, learning, play, and connection.

  20. SOA November 4, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    I am not a fan of voting going on in schools not because of perverts but more because of the traffic and parking issues that might arise. I know for a fact our school could not handle the parking and traffic issues. It is bad enough with just pick up and drop off with parents.

    But if a school has ample parking and does not have traffic issues and adequate space to set it up then I don’t have a problem with it.

    I also don’t like that it could be set up in like a gym and then the kids don’t get PE that day. Because it would disrupt their normal school day.

    So my main thing is as long as it does not disrupt anything, then I am fine with it. If it does, then maybe they need to find another place.

  21. hineata November 4, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

    Hi Michael – great for the kids to have a half day off, but I’m wondering why they have to have the cafeteria open to have lunch. Couldn’t they have brought sandwiches from home?

  22. lollipoplover November 4, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

    The “too many crazies in the world today” are actually the taxpayers that pay for this school to operate. I think we can grant them one visit a year to see the school their taxes pay for, right? And it’s good and healthy for children to see the voting process in action.

    Our school has horrible parking and we vote at our firehouse instead. I drag my kids with me there this afternoon (as they get older, it’s getting harder) because I want to impress upon them the importance of exercising this important right.

  23. A Dad November 4, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    I just got back to work after taking the time to drive the 35 minutes back to the school near home so that I could have lunch with my 3rd grade son before voting.
    He loved it. I loved it.
    All the voting machines were set up in the front atrium. The desks for the voting volunteers were set up to block the way into the rest of the school.
    No problems here.

  24. Warren November 4, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

    All these people so afraid of every little what if……must be horrible living like that. I can’t imagine it. What a minute, until it became popular, having irrational fears was a form of mental illness needing treatment.

    As for disrupting the school day? Unless you are holding elections every week, one day every few years, the little darlings can suck it up for the day. It is called life.

  25. Stacy November 4, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

    A person who was talking about dangerous strangers earlier is now citing special needs children having their day disrupted (I think by having to take a different hallway?) so I get to look like the WORST PERSON EVER if I continue saying it’s no big deal. Plus, everyone is thanking the parent volunteers for giving up their time to monitor the voters, which is “important in this day unfortunately.”

    I feel bad for the people forced to find polling places that meet all the requirements and don’t offend anyone. We don’t have many community centers or any other municipal buildings with enough space around here. All the polling places are schools or churches. I have voted at a tiny church, where, in a presidential year, we waited in line for one hour inside the sanctuary itself because there was no other room. I was not bothered but imagine some would be.

  26. Donna November 4, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

    hineata – Poverty. I believe that the free lunch program requires that free meals be available for children who qualify for them if lunch is going to be served so the choice is either provide lunch, requiring the cafeteria, or send kids home before lunch.

    Our locals schools range from 50-100% free lunch enrollment. Lunch is served even on half days because school breakfast and lunch are the only meals many of our students get each day.

  27. JenCo November 4, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    There was a very similar issue at our school this year. Voting was held in a single room (not gym or cafeteria) which has a separate entrance and is separated from the rest of the school by fire doors. There was enough uproar about the possible dangers (molesters, kidnappers, and armed crazies sneaking into the school) that an armed guard AND a volunteer dad were on duty during the entire school day. Irrational fear mongering and voter inconvenience and/or suppression are two concerns that come to mind–and I share them both. But I am also extremely concerned about the message we are sending to our kids: 1) Armed guards are required to keep you safe from our friends, neighbors and community AND 2) Exercising your right to vote (and thereby expressing your opinions and values) and taking part in civic responsibilities are in some inherently way dangerous and don’t belong in a public school. Voter turnout is already so low. Do we really want to encourage the next generation to not only be apathetic about but also FEARFUL of voting?

  28. Laurambp November 4, 2014 at 5:04 pm #

    In Maryland, schools are closed for Election Day and the day before. I didn’t realize that they were open elsewhere! Strange. Where do the people who are coming to vote park? And what is done about the kids in the free or reduced lunch program if the cafeteria is used for voting?

  29. JenCo November 4, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    Stacy, I understand completely what you are going through. I tried to convince other parents that having voting at our school was not a danger and was basically told that I must not value my children’s safety and lives as much as the other parents did!

    Personally I think we should be honored to have a polling site at our school. What a great opportunity to teach our kids about elections (a field trip without leaving school?), citizenship, and the very important and sacred right we have to participate in our own self-government. I’m so disappointed that many other parents did not see it this way.

  30. Stacy November 4, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

    The voting takes place in the spacious school library. The kids don’t have library the same day each week, so few if any notice one missed library day, but some children are rerouted to avoid the area and to allow the hallways to be blocked off.

  31. T.S. November 4, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

    Having schools serve as polling locations should actually be encouraged. Members of the community without kids in the school can see firsthand where a huge chunk of their property tax bill is going. Rather than being viewed with suspicion, they should be welcomed and thanked.

  32. JJ November 4, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

    There are no classes for Philadelphia public schools though teachers attend staff development on Election Day. As others mentioned I am guessing it is done out of tradition/convenience for parking and not because parents are concerned about stranger danger. Sadly we have much bigger concerns in our schools here than unleashed voters.

  33. Kimberly Herbert November 4, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

    Honestly I think that sometimes this is more about making it harder for “undesirable voter”, protecting the children is a smoke screen.

    I live in a very mixed middle income neighborhood (Harris County). Our polling place isn’t the school that serves most of the precinct. It is a club house in an wealthy neighborhood. It is on Jefferson circle, not Jefferson lane, Jefferson Street, or Jefferson BLV. I drove in circles because of repeated names, the first time I went to vote. I was stopped by a deputy. Seems residents were calling cops about “cars that don’t belong” so the deputies were out finding lost people and leading them to the polling place. In the parking lot some “citizens” wanted me to prove I should be voting there – since the deputy had to show me the way. I shoved my way past. The election judges said they couldn’t do anything because they were outside of the “No campaigning beyond this point sign). I filed a complaint and tried calling the media but it was late by the time I got to the polling place. A few years later I would have videoed the antics with my phone going on and sent that to several civil rights groups. It explains why early voting is often crowded. The next election I went to early voting and stood in line from 4 – 9 pm to vote. (If you were in line at 7 pm you got to vote).

    In Fort Bend County Texas (Where I work) most of the polling places were schools. One problem we had is our school district covers a good part of the county and 3 now 4 towns (another district was shut down by the state and adsorbed into ours). My school pulls students from 2 different towns because they have merged and we are on the boarder. We had people from the other town come to our school to vote, because the kids from that street come to our school. They get a bit annoyed having to go to the other town to vote.

    The people banning the community from the school are short sighted. The community, especially those without kids, are less likely to support schools if they are excluded. Schools should be the heart of the community not an exclusive country club. I fear we are going to swing back to that end of the cycle here. There have been a couple of cases where people have volunteered at schools here as mentors. The would supervise lunches to free up staff to teach and have their lunches. Thing was they were shoving religion down the kids throats telling them they were going to hell. One was also a predator. That victim’s parents are suing the churches he was working for not the school. Hopefully both churches are bankrupted they both have unsavory reputation for trying to recruit children into their church without the parents knowledge or consent.

  34. Lauren November 4, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

    When I first moved to my current city, we voted at a school. At the next election, it had been moved to a church. I think because of the “crazies” who might wander around a school.

  35. Stephanie November 4, 2014 at 7:30 pm #

    I’m kind of relieved that voting isn’t at our school this year, only because pick up and drop off is a nightmare for those parents who have to drive there on regular days anyhow. They used to just have voting in the library when they did it there.

    We walk to school, so it was never a big difference to us. Weird thing is that even though we live less than a quarter mile from the school, my polling place has always been at a church about two miles away. Never understood that one.

  36. Kimberly Herbert November 4, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

    Both as a student and teacher our polling place was in the cafeteria. It didn’t interfere with lunch at all. Actually the election judges ate the slop they feed the kids. They were shocked at the poor quality of food.

    I can only think of 2 problems
    1. A student who kept yelling vote for (Name of Candidate). He got ISS after the 2nd time. (He had a history of disruptive behaviors and was a hair away from being suspended.

    2. The election judge from hell. It was a primary the first year that the parties/county had polling stations on line. He wanted access to that. He and principal demanded that I get him on our wifi. (Note I’m a teacher not a CITS or IT). I point out we don’t have wifi in the building. I don’t think anyone in the district had it. I explained to the principal the only solutions I could see was to get a really long cord and plug him into the drop in the nearest office.

    That would mean the person that worked there (Councilor for one party school receptionist for the other) would be offline for the day.Why there are 2 drops. I know good and well there is no way that 2nd drop is hot. They just have it there for future use. So they demanded that I make the drop hot – Reviewing I’m a geeky teacher not IT not CITS. At that point I emailed all my friends that were CITS or IT asking for help before I got written up for telling off principal. IT let him have it – but they temporarly made the drops hot. We have wifi now but guests get kicked off every 30 min.

    Oh the principal – got himself in hot water sending out a series of e-mails with bible quotes demanding we pray over them and saying that Catholics and Jews shouldn’t be allowed to be teachers.

  37. Dave B November 5, 2014 at 3:12 am #

    Elections taking place on a weekday is a strange thing.

    In Germany every election is held on a sunday baring some extraordinary circumstances.
    The most common polling stations are schools too, but as it is sunday, there are no students which could be bothered, terrified or “endangered”.

    Weekday elections seem to be designed to disenfranchise working people. No chance to go voting if it is your shift in the factory.
    That seems like an advantage for being “upper” or “middle” class.

    And i guess you can’t vote on a sunday, as it is the day for church going and so on.

  38. Jill November 5, 2014 at 6:21 am #

    This idiocy proves it: schools are now firmly lodged in the public’s minds as places where unspeakable violence and horrid acts of perversion might break out at any moment against the children, the precious, innocent children!

  39. Flurry November 5, 2014 at 7:04 am #

    I’d like to know if there’s any documented proof that a child was ever abused, molested, or kidnapped by a voter on election day.

  40. Thea November 5, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    I remember as a kid seeing my dad voting in the hallway leading up to the cafeteria in my elementary school. I always thought that was so neat. In MD, they shut schools down. That’s going to be a pain in a few years when my kid is in school. Aside from the parking lot issue, which could be a pain, I don’t see why schools have to close.

  41. Elin November 5, 2014 at 8:48 am #

    In Sweden voting day is always on a Sunday so there is no problem of students and voters mixing if the voting is held at a school. This pretty much solves the problem even for the parents who are scared of everything. I would personally not be alarmed by voting taking place at a school, our public library is also the library of the closest school so the public and the students meet all the time during school hours although you are not allowed to roam free in the areas of the school where the classrooms are even if you are there to visit the library.

  42. Erika November 5, 2014 at 9:48 am #

    In our town in RI (and in a few others), the schools are closed. It’s parent-teacher conference day for the elementary schools, and professional development for the middle and high-schools.

    I have mixed feelings about this. I think it’s great for kids to see democracy in action. However, the polling area is in the same room that’s used as the gym/auditorium/cafeteria in the elementary schools, so it would really make for some difficult logistics if the schools were in session. Plus there’s the parking issue…

  43. Emily November 5, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    While I do come down on the side of “I don’t care about voting in my school because the chances of something bad happening are absolutely minimal” I did enjoy my son’s day off yesterday.

    Our district used it as an In-service day, so teachers had to report, but no kids. I’m fairly certain they had school on election day last year (so it doesn’t seem to be a yearly thing).

    I don’t vote at the school that my son goes to, I vote at a school on the other side of town. My son’s school would have no problems with people in and out as the room where they vote is accessible by it’s own door and a voter would never even see a student.

    However, where I vote (at a school I’m unfamiliar with), I had to walk a long way through the hallways, passing a lot of classrooms. While I don’t think “OMG badguy” would happen, I would guess that a lot of classes could be disturbed by voters.

    Or maybe I just like any excuse for a day off!

  44. Sharon November 5, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    In Maryland at least Montgomery County I think it has to do with numbers. My daughter says so many people are in the hallways they can barely walk. If the gym or the lunchroom were used all day I think kids would be wandering around looking for places to eat lunch.

    I did my 13 year old to vote and explained to her at home why I was voting for certain candidates and not others. Her reward was the voting stickers which we turned into free baguettes and chips and queso. She was interested enough that she may volunteer in the next Maryland election (2016). Unlike Virginia and New Jersey where I have lived Maryland only has even year elections.

  45. MichaelF November 5, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

    “I’m wondering why they have to have the cafeteria open to have lunch. Couldn’t they have brought sandwiches from home?”

    While there may be free lunch issues, I think the majority of this is that there are a LOT of nut allergies in our school and its hard for the classes to be sure that those are taken care of. One year they did cold lunch only, but apparently that did not go over well, so now its a half day.

  46. bob magee November 5, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

    Simple solution – close ALL schools All the time.

    Now where will the perverts and shooters go each day (especially Election Day)?

  47. Sharon November 5, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

    Where would they sit if they brought food from home? They can’t go in the library with food and the gym is used every period. They can’t go outside (the security officer would order them inside) or sit in the hall with food. If they tried they would have detention.

  48. Kate November 5, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    Re: Can’t have lunch if the cafeteria is closed for voting

    When I was in elementary school (1990s) we had “brown bag lunch” when the cafeteria had to be closed for whatever reason. On these days you would sign up beforehand to either bring your own lunch or have a school provided brown bag lunch that consisted of your choice of hot dog, hamburger, or PB&J and then an apple, milk, some carrot sticks, and maybe some other small item, all prepared lovingly by the lunch ladies. I suppose schools can’t do this now because of all of the dietary restrictions?

  49. Kate November 5, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Forgot to mention, the above brown bag lunches were eaten in our classrooms at our desks with our teacher, who also brown-bagged it.

  50. Sharon November 5, 2014 at 3:07 pm #

    My daughters middle school is “at capacity.” Every classroom is used every period. Some of the kids don’t even have lockers. They have a corner of the school office to leave their belongings. Lunch is bad even with a cafeteria. The kids have to take turns sitting and standing. Some eat quickly and go into the media center.

    Her old elementary school is even worse. It is “above capacity” and according to several parents has turned a nice school of 500 into a factory for 800 to 900 students.

  51. Jessica November 5, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

    Not sure if someone else mentioned it, but I’ve read that having the polling places in schools causes people to vote more in support of schools, such as for measures that provide more funding and the like. It’s the same with churches. People tend to cast more conservative votes. If there is anything on the ballot that provides more funding for the schools or whatnot, you could say they’re deliberately trying to take money from the schools and therefore the children by not letting voting take place there.

  52. PDB November 5, 2014 at 10:25 pm #

    One of my favorite songs by Frankie…I love it!

  53. SOA November 5, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

    Due to food allergies they are not allowed to bring lunch into classrooms anymore or at least any classroom with a food allergy student has to barr that.

    Our kids only get gym one day a week and if they used the gym for voting there goes that one class getting any gym for the whole week. They already have a childhood obesity problem. That might be the only exercise some of these kids get, so I prefer they not have to skip it.

    Playing devil’s advocate but special education students like kids with autism actually WILL get super bothered and stressed when anything is out of the normal or their schedule drastically changes and this type of stuff causes that. That is why I said I would be cool with it only if it does not disrupt anything. Telling a kid with severe autism or anxiety or ADHD to “Get over it” probably won’t work.

    My son’s special education teacher knows that if something changes the normal routine she has to be there to walk him through it because it can throw his entire day of learning off. They have picture schedules they use to help him through the day and if something is not on the schedule its an issue for him. That is how a lot of special needs kids are.

    I say just let everyone mail their votes in. I know that might be a logistic nightmare but that would solve all this polling location drama. I know you can mail in absentee ballots and people like shut ins can use them to send in their vote. Just let everyone do it. Would probably be way more convenient for working people or people without transportation.

  54. Warren November 6, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    Is your school holding elections every week? No once every few years. If your kid cannot suck up the routine change for one freaking day, then homeschool, and stop whining.

    Your kid wouldn’t last in most schools up here. Why, the kids eat lunch at their desks, in their class. Very few schools short of high schools, have cafeterias.

    Dolly stop with the goddamn food allergys crap. Every damn post.

  55. Donna November 6, 2014 at 11:51 am #

    “Due to food allergies they are not allowed to bring lunch into classrooms anymore or at least any classroom with a food allergy student has to barr that.”

    No it isn’t. My child eats lunch in the classroom every week, at least in the cold months (they eat outside when nice). It is a special treat for those who complete all their homework that week. Yes, there are food allergic children in her class. The vast majority of food allergic children CAN eat in the same room as their allergen. IF there was someone with an airborne allergy, the teacher could simply alert the parents not to pack said allergen on “lunch bunch” days as is done in the countless classes and camps my child has attended over the years, none of which ban any food but will alert if there is a specific issue.

    “Our kids only get gym one day a week and if they used the gym for voting there goes that one class getting any gym for the whole week.”

    Voting in my daughter’s school is in the gym. Nobody misses anything. The kids who have PE that day have PE outside.

    “Playing devil’s advocate but special education students like kids with autism actually WILL get super bothered and stressed when anything is out of the normal or their schedule drastically changes and this type of stuff causes that.”

    Sorry but schools need to at least attempt to teach special needs kids skills to handle changes. This is not to say “get over it,” but to say that nobody’s life is ever 100% on schedule 100% of the time and the world cannot be expected to revolve around your disability. The teaching of such coping skills should be part of the special education program. Not all kids will be able to manage change, but, again, the world doesn’t revolve around disabilities and an entire country should not have to change voting procedure for them.

    Election day is not a last minute change the schedule that cannot be prepared for in advance. It has been in the exact same day since 1845.

  56. Emily November 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    >>For a couple years now, they’ve had volunteer parents stand at the entrance to make sure the voters go straight into the voting room and do not use the hallway bathroom.<<

    @Stacy–What happens when someone comes to vote, and has to go to the bathroom?

  57. SOA November 6, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

    Donna: you do realize your school is not the same as every other school right? Our school usually only uses the playgrounds for recess and cannot have PE classes and recess going on out there at the same time. There is just not enough space for that. They do PE in the gym. What about if it was pouring rain that day? Then they don’t get PE that day and as I explained for our school that means they don’t get it at all that week. Since so many parents just park their kids in front of the tv all day that PE is pretty important. They will live without it, but it is better that they do get that exercise in.

    Your school may allow kids to eat in the classroom. Our school does not. The policy is that all eating must take place in the cafeteria . For food allergy reasons, for janitorial reasons, for pest reasons. Eating in the classroom can be a huge mess, is dangerous for the child’s allergen to contaminate things like desks or pencils or doorknobs, etc, and it attracts bugs. I definitely agree with our school keeping eating out of the classroom as much as they can. I don’t let my kids eat all over my house. They have a few places they are allowed to eat and that is it. That way the mess can be contained.

    Of course they teach special needs kids to adapt. That does not mean that an epic tantrum might still take place either because a child that loves gym found out gym was cancelled due to voting. They would work with that child to calm him down and explain things to him and teach him to adapt, but that still is going to be a lot of work on the teachers part and disrupt the other students and stress out that student. So I don’t see it as an ideal situation. You seem to think schools are for kids that already know everything. That is what school is for-teaching. They will have to teach that child to adapt but does not mean it is going to go over very easily either. Then the people voting get to hear that autistic child screaming while they are trying to vote. I know when my son has an epic tantrum at school he can be heard anywhere in the building. I know I don’t wanna vote and hear some kid freaking out while I try to do so.

  58. Donna November 6, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    Dolly, The point isn’t that all schools are the same. It is that these are not immutable, insurmountable problems that make voting in schools something that shouldn’t happen. Schools around the country have managed to find ways around them for generations and most continue to do so today.

    Schools can certainly CHOOSE to not eat in classrooms. It is absolutely not a necessary rule as evident by the millions of children who do eat in their classrooms, either all the time or some of the time. Those kids are not dropping like flies from allergies.

    If your PE teacher and school administration cannot find a way to have both PE and voting, then they should all be fired because they are too dumb to be educating children. On the very outside chance that there is truly no way to do both, kids are not becoming obese because they miss one PE class every 2 years. In fact, since it would be highly coincidental for any one child to have PE every single voting day, it is actually more likely that the kid misses one PE for his/her entire elementary school career. Give me a break.

    And that is what we are talking about. People are not voting daily. They are not voting weekly or even monthly. It is, at worst, a once a year, but far more likely once every two years, event. The CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to vote carries far more importance than any OPTIONAL CHOICES the school makes or even the discomfort of your autistic kid.

  59. Donna November 6, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

    And if a kid is throwing an epic tantrum while I am voting, a kid is throwing an epic tantrum while I am voting. Kids, autistic or not, occasionally throw tantrums. It is not pleasant, but such is life. Life is not always as clean or as quiet or as pleasant as we would like it to be and you just put on your big girl panties and get through it.

  60. Donna November 6, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

    By the way Lenore, this thread actually motivated me to vote Tuesday. I was planning to blow it off since my preferred candidates never win anyway, but all this talk about voting made me want to go. None of the people that I voted for won, but I did take my daughter for a lesson in civic responsibility.

  61. Warren November 6, 2014 at 4:35 pm #


    Please seek help before it is too late.

    None of your excuses for not eating in the classroom, are actually valid. Bugs and janitorial problems? Really? Because our schools teach kids to clean up after themselves. Maybe yours should start.
    Allergens? Don’t have any kids dropping around here.

    As for your snowflake, maybe you should homeschool if he is so fragile, that once every two years there is voting in the schoool, screws him up.

    As for missing PE? If they are only getting it once a week, they are not missing a thing. Once a week will have no actual benefit for anyone.

  62. SOA November 8, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    I have the right to my opinion and my opinion is I think voting is fine in schools as long as it does not disrupt the normal day. If it makes the parking lot a fucking nightmare they should find somewhere else. If it displaces students they should find somewhere else. Or let schools out early or let them off that day. Either or. Because it is their school. There are other ways and places to vote most likely. Or hell give the kids a day off. That will make them happy. As you said if it is just one day every two years just let them stay home if the school is the ONLY place they have to hold voting.

    Around here it is some schools, churches, community centers. I vote at a community center. I used to have to vote at an elementary school and it was in the gym. It was fine if you went during the day but I imagine it became a nightmare if you tried to go during drop off or pick up time because that school had a very small parking lot and driveway and I bet it was full of buses and parents at those times. That annoys and bothers me as the voter.

  63. Donna November 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    “Because it is their school.”

    Unless your children attend some privately-owned co-op school (which would not be used for voting), it is not their school. It is a government-owned building that has been allocated as a school and can be allocated by the government owner to be anything else all or part of the time.

  64. lollipoplover November 9, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    So now the community school can’t be a voting location because of allergy and autistic kids?

    Hear that?
    It’s the sound of Alice Paul and Susan B. Anthony rolling over in their graves.

  65. Warren November 10, 2014 at 11:40 am #


    A nightmare at drop off and pick up time?

    Most voters would have the common sense to avoid those times, as to not have to put up with the crowds themselves.

    Dolly your sense of entitlement is second to none. WOW!!!!

  66. Warren November 10, 2014 at 11:41 am #

    Oh and here’s a novel idea…..let the capable ones walk to school and home instead of Mommy driving them.

  67. Emily November 11, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

    @Warren–I agree that voting in schools is a good thing, but avoiding drop-off and pick-up times might not be an option for some people. A lot of people work from 9 to 5, so they might think, “Okay, I’ll vote while I’m dropping the kids off at school, and accomplish two things in one,” or “I’ll vote at lunch time, because I won’t have another chance today.” Multiply that by however many people are in that situation, and it could result in chaos. However, I also agree that kids who live within walking distance of the school should walk to and from school, barring extenuating circumstances (thunderstorm, blizzard, child with a tuba in tow, et cetera). When I was a kid, we didn’t have “drop-off” and pick-up,” we had “arrival” and “dismissal.” Some kids got dropped off and picked up, but it wasn’t called that, because it wasn’t considered the norm.