Civic Duty ? the New Recess
When I was an elementary student at Kennard Classical Junior Academy, I remember being absolutely furious about having my gym class canceled. I had stretched, my shoes were tied tight, and I was ready for a classic game of kickball — but three guys named Clinton, Bush, and Perot spoiled my day. Our gymnasium was taken over by grown-ups who used our facility as a polling place in the 1996 presidential election. This year, things will be a little different for the lucky kids of St. Charles and St. Louis County.
An article in the Post-Dispatch had me floored when I read that more than half of the St. Louis County school districts were canceling classes at the request of the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners. In a report released last Monday, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced that 76 percent of Missouri’s registered voters are predicted to vote in the November 4 election. If this holds true, more than 3.2 million votes will be cast, which may create complications. From the article:
Because this election is expected to have a huge voter turnout, election organizers and schools are concerned about building security and parking. They also want to make sure schools can set up voting booths in their largest areas available, typically in cafeterias, gymnasiums, hallways and classrooms.
I understand the logic in closing some of the schools down, but what about those parents that work full time? Forcing them to look for a babysitter or take time off from work could put them in very inconvenient positions. School that considered closing, but chose to remain open, have called on parent volunteers to help patrol halls and asked teachers to carpool. Other districts, like Parkway, chose to keeps schools open just so the students could “observe the legislative process, to see it in action,” in the words of one official.
I think that parents’ biggest fear is that: (1) Obama and McCain volunteers will get involved in a royal rumble in the school cafeteria; or, (2) a serial killer or child molester will happen to find his way into a random hallway of the school. While I am not much of a fan of disenfranchising felons from the voter booth, Missouri law prevents felons who are still on parole or probation from voting or entering the premises. As far as an Obama McCain brawl, I think that would provide entertainment for all ages.
Hmm … if the students could get a day off, I wonder whether there is any hope for interns?