Oct 27, 2022 - News

North Texas schools closing on Election Day amid safety concerns

Illustration of hand writing and crossing out open and closed on a chalkboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Many North Texas schools will be closed Nov. 8 as districts navigate their roles as polling sites and the attendant safety risks in the wake of school shootings and threats to poll workers.

Why it matters: Campuses have been used as polling sites for years, but the influx of visitors during school hours has posed security challenges.

  • Districts either have to cancel classes, forcing parents to find child care alternatives, or figure out how to reconfigure safety plans and the flow of traffic.

What's happening: Dallas, Fort Worth and Richardson are giving students Election Day off and holding professional development for teachers and staff that day.

  • The districts join other schools around Texas, including Austin and San Antonio, in canceling classes to make way for voters, citing safety concerns.

Context: Threats and disruptions to the electoral process prompted the Department of Justice to launch a law enforcement task force in July to ensure the safety of the front line of democracy.

Between the lines: The day of the Robb Elementary shooting in Uvalde in May coincided with run-off elections statewide.

  • The school was not a polling site, but the tragedy highlighted potential vulnerabilities in campuses open to the public for voting.

Yes, but: Not all districts are closing on Election Day. Plano ISD and Grapevine-Colleyville ISD are among North Texas districts that will remain open. Several of their schools will still serve as polling sites.

  • Of note: Plano ISD is asking voters to approve school renovations, new technology and improvements to its events center and stadiums through four bond propositions.

How to help: The FBI wants the public to report suspected threats or violent acts by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or filing an online complaint at tips.fbi.gov.


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