Nov 1, 2022 - News

Some Texas schools closing for Election Day due to safety concerns

Illustration of an apple with an I Voted sticker.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Some Texas schools will be closed on Nov. 8 as districts navigate the safety risks that come with being polling sites in the wake of school shootings and threats to poll workers.

Yes, but: That won't include Houston ISD. The largest school district in the state, serving more than 194,000 students, will mostly remain open.

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

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

What's happening: Austin, San Antonio and the Dallas-Fort Worth schools are giving students and teachers Election Day off.

  • Districts in those three cities explicitly cited safety concerns as prompting the decision.

Zoom in: HISD made Nov. 3 a holiday for the 2020 election, but the decision does not apply to this year.

  • Nearly 400 Houston-area schools are Election Day polling sites, including some in HISD.

However, more than a dozen other Harris County school districts will have the day off at least for students, including:

Context: A wave of 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.

  • Per Texas Election Code, schools must be made available for use as polling sites if needed, thus making campuses part of safety conversations.

Between the lines: The day of the Robb Elementary shooting, coincided with run-off elections throughout the state.

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

What's next: The FBI is asking the public to report suspected threats or violent acts by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or filing an online complaint at


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