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Glen Rock Schools to Close for Next Election

School district had explored moving polling out of school buildings due to safety concerns.

Patch file photo
Patch file photo

The Glen Rock Board of Education approved a district calendar for next year that includes a day off Nov. 4, when voters will be using the buildings as a polling place, according to a report by The Glen Rock Gazette.

“While preparing the calendar, the matter of Election Day was paramount in my thinking as a direct result of our experience this past year,” said Superintendent Paula Valenti, according to the report.

During the gubernatorial and local council election last year, Hamilton School, where polling takes place, received a phone threat that prompted the early dismissal of students and the disruption of voting for almost two hours.

There was no evidence the call, coming a day after a gunman forced a late night lockdown of the Garden State Plaza and hours after another threat at a high school in Lodi, was motivated by the election. But school officials had raised safety concerns with opening the buildings to voters months before the incident.

Valenti petitioned the county over the summer to move polling locations from the schools, but the request was denied. Changes in polling places are typically only possible when a municipality undergoes a redrawing of its voting districts.

Residents currently vote in Hamilton, Central, Coleman and the Middle/High School, as well as in borough hall.

Sally G January 21, 2014 at 11:15 PM
This really disturbs me; it is so important to train kids to votes, to see it as part of civic duty, to have it part of everyday life. Admittedly, I have advocated for a STATE holiday for Election Day, even a FEDERAL holiday, better than early voting to get more people involved with everyone making their choices at the same time, during a time of no reporting of polls or results, but this associates it, especially in a child’s mind, I would think, with violence and fear. BAD NEWS!
Brian January 22, 2014 at 05:58 AM
The Superintendent should be immediately terminated for this decision. Voters fund schools and schools should want to interact with voters. Instead the Superintendent is saying that the voters are rapists and murderers to be avoided like the plague. You cannot pass school budgets without having people without children vote yes. //There is not a single documented case of voters causing problems in our area schools and none of the school shootings have been perpetrated by voters. // Remember when voting day meant a bake sale, a visit to the voting booth and sometimes even the fun of seeing a neighbor _in your school_.
jp1 January 22, 2014 at 09:27 AM
Why not have voting at the police station firehouse.
Phil Brooks January 22, 2014 at 09:28 AM
This is yet another over-reaction to something that wasn't a problem. The threat, if it was one, was more likely to interrupt the voting for whatever nefarious reasons that person had than to cause actual harm. // And now, closing for Election Day just pissed away an entire week of school, not just one day. Monday: School. Tuesday: Off. Wednesday: School. Thursday and Friday: Off for the teachers' convention and gambling in AC. Now, with three days off, and not contiguous at that, what kind of rhythm can teachers and students get in that week? Not much. And, knowing that not much will happen, that four-day weekend will now become a full week as I'm sure many parents will consider pulling their kids out of school. And, with increased absences, as in this case, how much work would have gotten done anyway? // I agree; this is a gross over-reaction to a non-issue and the Superintendent should be terminated.
The Fly January 22, 2014 at 05:19 PM
A better plan would have been to redraw the districts and move forward with the plan to relocate voting out of the schools.
anne January 22, 2014 at 10:07 PM
Phil, I dont think that's right about the gambling in AC. I know seven teachers at various grade levels who work in several different districts here in NJ ... and NONE of them actually attend the convention let alone gamble while there. They go on vacation, catch up on errands ... basically anything other than whatever the lofty objectives of that convention might be ... could be my sample is skewed, though.
Phil Brooks January 23, 2014 at 01:22 PM
Anne, Well, if they're making it a four-day weekend and doing nothing that involves teaching and it doesn't seem to affect them any, maybe, and judging by your small sample, that four-day weekend should be eliminated. // And, my guess is that it's not all work and no play for those who go to AC.

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