Schools across North Texas being used as polling locations will be closed on Election Day due to safety concerns. This will also allow educators and school staff to vote during the day.
According to Axios, the decision to close schools in Dallas, Richardson, Garland and several others was made to ensure student safety, as well as allow educators and other school personnel to vote in the midterm elections.
“RISD has scheduled a student holiday on November General Elections days for the last five years. This ongoing decision is driven by student safety. The majority of RISD schools are required to serve as polling locations, which can result in hundreds of visitors accessing a campus without being subject to the security and background check protocols otherwise required of visitors during a school day,” RISD Executive Director of Communications Tim Clark told Local Profile.
The Texas Election Code states that schools in the state must allow for polling stations to be set up for voters. Typically, schools are convenient for these sites because of the available space.
Update: Frisco ISD classes will be in session with additional security measures, and the polling location will be blocked off from students and staff. A police officer will be stationed inside the campus and other officers and district security staff will provide additional campus safety.
Grand Prairie ISD will also remain in session on Election Day.
Other cities in Texas will also be closing schools citing safety concerns including Austin and San Antonio. The U.S. Department of Justice has received more than 1,000 threatening messages to election workers and more than 10% rose to the level of a criminal investigation. Texas especially has been a hot spot for worry and an August House Oversight Committee report showed misinformation and conspiracy theories are at the root of the problem.
“The investigation uncovered that coordinated campaigns of election disinformation are disrupting the crucial work of local election officials, subjecting these Americans to violent threats and overwhelming the limited resources available to provide accurate information to voters and protect the integrity of our democratic system,” the report said.
One Texas election official had his address leaked and received numerous threats telling him to leave the state or would be hunted down. His family also received threats, including his children.
But the election is not something that can be put on hold. A full list of polling locations in Collin County, including schools can be found here. Other districts can be found here. If you aren’t sure whether your child will be exempt from school on November 8, contact the school directly.
Local Profile has reached out to several schools for comment and this story will be updated pending response.
Update: A previous version of this story stated some schools in Grand Prairie ISD were to close on Election Day. However, GPISD will be in session.