Reading, Writing and Looming Fears by Ken Tingley
The Warrensburg Central School District is saving its children from the clutches of voters.
Swear to God.
Its board of education voted unanimously against a county proposal to use one of the school’s facilities for the April 24 presidential primary.
The reason? Too dangerous.
You would have thought the new voting machines contained plutonium. Or all Warrensburg voters are packing heat. Or perhaps there is concern over some insidious political agenda that might pollute impressionable minds.
The school board members believe that opening the school to voters will put the student body at risk. Of the seven members on the school board, not one even cleared their throat to say this is all just a bit silly.
Voting at local schools and firehouses is a tradition that goes back generations. I can’t remember the last time I did not vote in a school. And the greatest calamity I can ever recall was complaints over long lines in Lake Luzerne one year.
Oddly, Warren County’s Republican Commissioner Mary Beth Casey said she understood the board’s concern.
Hopefully, she was just being politically correct in hopes they would come to their senses because what she should have said was, “Seriously?”
The culture of fear that has taken root in our communities is epidemic.
We see shadows at high noon and dangers lurking around every swing set. And now, in voting booths.
We are all privy to horrible crimes that happen around the country and it is in everyone’s best interest to be prudent, especially when it comes to young children, but hopefully, without being ridiculous.
In this case in Warrensburg, school officials had previously moved the voting from the gymnasium to a supplemental recreation room away from the student population.
Polling places are generally busy places, crawling with volunteers. And the paranoia regarding school security is at such a heightened state, parents can’t drop off their kid’s lunch without being patted down in the foyer.
Years ago, I took my young son to the school playground during a school day. I was immediately informed that it was against the rules for me to be there during school hours.
My 4-year-old and I were a security risk.
Only time I’ve ever been kicked off the swing set.
Such is the concern in Warrensburg, where danger lurks, and it is no longer safe to invite citizens to the elementary school.
Ken Tingley is the editor of The Post-Star and may be reached via email at [email protected]. You can read his blog “The Front Page” daily at www.poststar.com or his updates on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/kentingley.
NOTE: Tingley tells me that now the board has voted to let the election take place at the school. Somehow (maybe thanks to this column?) sanity reigns! – L