Keep our children safe by moving the polling location
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We are petitioning the Pennsylvania Fayette County Board of Elections to strongly consider moving the election polling station from its current location at Bullskin Elementary School to another building that will not put our children at risk.
During the 2017/2018 school year (as well as in prior years), public voting has been held inside Bullskin Elementary School during school hours while our children are in their classrooms and eating lunch. The voting is held inside the school gym which is separated from the school cafeteria by only an accordion-type retractable room divider. Voters are permitted to come into the halls and use the restrooms, if escorted. In contrast, parents who want to pick up their child are required to access the school through one door that is electronically locked and video monitored. Once a parent is accepted into the building they must walk past the resource officer and enter the building office where they must wait for their child. While the parent is in the building they are continually under staff supervision and monitoring. Public voters are not given the same attention when it comes to the safety of our students. Multiple times over this school year, we as parents have been asked to help/aid the school with Christmas shop, class room parties, field trips. To be compliant with the school districts policy on adults inside the school during school hours we need our clearances which include criminal background check, child Abuse History background check and a federal fingerprint check. The community voters who have access to the school and walk alongside our children do not require any of these checks. Voters are given direct access to the school through an unlocked door and direct entry to common areas where students learn and walk past as normal routines. Student and staff safety are not a priority during these open voting dates.
It is unfortunate that we are living in a time where schools have become targets for unthinkable violence. The Connellsville school district has recognized this potential for violence and has worked hard and continues to work hard at providing a safe environment for our children to learn. We as parents feel this “open” voting station removes security procedures so carefully put in place to protect our children and puts an undo risk to everyone inside the elementary school.
In addition to the safety concern, lack of available parking spaces causes congestion for the school buses/vans and parents attempting to drop off and pick up students and leaves teachers without parking spots. Bullskin is the only school in the entire district that is still used as a polling location.
Protecting our children should be a top priority for not only our schools, but also our government. We are asking the Fayette County Board of Elections to seriously consider removing the polling location from the school and providing a safe and secure environment for our children.
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