AUBURN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Classes at four schools in Auburn that serve as polling places will remain open on Election Day.
The school committee voted 6-1 in favor of keeping the schools open, provided there is a police presence.
Schools throughout Maine have been canceling classes for students that day because of security concerns. Large voter turnout and the contentious nature of some of the political races have been cited as cause for concern. That was part of the discussion in Auburn last night.
“I’ve lived in Auburn all my life and I’ve never had an occasion where you’ve had the polarization within the two parties and things, that would have raised this level of concern for anyone”, said School Committee Chairman Thomas Kendall.
Kendall says it’s the first time security at schools on Election Day has been a concern for the committee. He says it’s not an easy thing to cancel classes for the day. You have to think about making up the lost time and parents finding child care. Still, that was an option board members looked at when they discussed this year’s election. In the end, they voted to keep classes that day, provided there was extra security.
“Make sure the police presence is there and we’ve been assured that it will be”, Kendall said.
Auburn Deputy Police Chief Jason Moen says his department is not really concerned about the contentious nature of things this election year. He says it’s more about the sheer volume of voters expected to turn out.
“It’s basically just to maintain that sense of security for the students. They have a lot of strangers coming into the building and we want to make sure they have a nice, safe day”, he said.
Parents who don’t feel comfortable sending their children to school can choose to keep them home. The students will be given an excused absence.