NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Guards, vetting, cameras, restricted entries – all get thrown out the door on Election Day.
Now, some parents and education officials on Long Island are asking how schools can remain safe during the nationwide democratic process.
“You cannot walk into our buildings on any day without showing identification, being buzzed in, and escorted to your destination,” superintendent of New Hyde Park-Garden City Park schools, Jennifer Morrison said.
Morrison admitted however, those rules haven’t applied to primary and general election days.
“Doors are wide open to anyone who wants to come into the buildings.”
Days before the 2018 midterm elections, New Hyde Park parents and school board members say they don’t want to suppress voting rights, but are asking if schools are still the right place for people to vote.
“I am fearful that a tragedy is going to occur, quite frankly,” Danielle Messina told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.
“Every security protocol that we’ve put in place is thrown out the door,” Elizabeth Sollecito added.
On primary day, schools are open. Most schools are closed on Election day however, many students still meet for sports and club activities.
Strangers may have free reign to come and go at will and linger.
“They can scope you out of your building, take note of where different doors are, have opportunity to leave things somewhere,” Kathryn Canese explained.
North Hempstead’s town supervisor, fielding recent concerns from many, just contacted Nassau’s board of elections to offer alternative voting sites for next year’s elections.
“If the board of elections wants to speak to us about which buildings, we are happy to enter those discussions,” Judi Bosworth said.
The senate has also proposed legislative changes in Albany.
“If passed, it would give schools the option to tell the board of elections ‘we can’t secure our buildings, you’ll have to find a new location,’” local school board member James Reddan said.
The newly proposed school voting safety bill still needs a sponsor in the assembly. Seventy percent of polling places in Nassau and Suffolk counties are in public schools.