Auburn chooses to keep schools open during voting

Increased security at polling locations

AUBURN, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- Several schools being used as polling locations on Tuesday chose to cancel classes for student safety reasons. Meanwhile, the four schools serving as polling sites in Auburn- Washburn School, Auburn Middle School, Fairview School, and Sherwood Heights- kept classes in session, but with added policy security. 

The Auburn School Committee did consider cancelling classes during Election Day as many other towns chose to do, including Cape Elizabeth, Lewiston, and Falmouth. However, after taking into account the eventual need to make up for lost time, as well as parents having to find alternative childcare for the day, the committee opted to continue with classes as usual. But one police officer will be stationed at the polling sites at each of the four schools while students are present.

Committee members say this is the first time security has been a concern. Some of the worries surround the contentious atmosphere of this year's election and the large crowds of voters expected to come through the school. Many parents and voters have expressed mixed reactions as they exited the polling site in the back of Auburn Middle School.

"I kind of wish that, for the kids' sake, for the school's sake, and for our parking, that they had closed the school," said Auburn resident Elizabeth Haffey.

Resident Gina Aube-Guimond was not as concerned, "I thought about that," she said. "But I do live in a wonderful, safe community and I'm going with that we have good people."

Mike Begin is the parent of a student at Auburn Middle School, he said he feels more comfortable knowing a police officer is present during voting. "Absolutely, yes, especially today," Begin said. "Just, with everything going on in the country, you never know."

If parents still did not feel comfortable sending their children to school, they could keep them home for the day. Those students would receive an excused absence. 

Auburn's fifth polling site was located inside city hall.

(© 2016 WCSH)


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