Relocate Voting from Kenneth N. Butz Elementary School - Nazareth Area School District
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Kenneth N. Butz Elementary School (KBES), located in Bushkill Township in the Nazareth Area School District (NASD), is the only District school that hosts election polling within its building. Voting occurs during a regular school day at a location where the students are between the ages of 5 and 8 years old.
On Election Day 2017, at approximately 11:15am, all District parents received notification (email, text message, and voice calls) that all schools were on a ‘lockdown’ due to an active shooter situation in the area. This was due to a shooting of a State Trooper during a traffic stop on Route 33 at the Route 191 interchange in Plainfield Township -- approximately 5 miles from KBES and adjacent to the boundary of the NASD. LINK: PA State Trooper Shooting on Route 33 - Election Day 2017
The suspect fled the scene -- which prompted the ‘lockdown’ status of the schools. And although KBES was complying with District ‘lockdown’ procedures, polling continued in the gymnasium as scheduled given the location’s status as a voting location. This is a certain CONFLICT OF INTEREST as the school’s physical plant was being utilized as a place of polling yet is not afforded ‘lockdown’ protections to the occupying students and faculty during this active shooter situation.
With State laws such as 25 P.S. 3047 limiting police presence within proximity of a polling location to mitigate perceived voter intimidation, further substantiates why KBES could potentially be seen as a ‘safe haven’ by an individual who was either armed or wanted by law enforcement.
With respect to active shooter situations that have occurred in schools and other public venues over the past months and years, this has become an unfortunate reality in our everyday lives. Reducing risk to the school’s children and faculty by limiting opportunity is paramount in ensuring their safety.
We the undersigned residents of the NASD, and other concerned parties, request immediate movement of the Bushkill Center and Cherry Hill Polling Districts to an alternate location prior to the 2018 Mid-Term election cycle. NASD has recently taken steps towards reducing opportunity with its cancellation of public visitation for American Education Week.
IT IS NOW INCUMBENT UPON THE NORTHAMPTON COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS TO TAKE DECISIVE ACTION TOWARDS PROTECTING THE CHILDREN OF KBES BY RELOCATING FUTURE POLLING.
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