In two days, Nashville voters head to the polls, but Election Day has some Metro Nashville Public Schools parents concerned about safety.
More than 40 Metro Schools also serve as polling places, and parents say this will bring additional people to school campuses.
“When you leave the doors wide open, it’s an accident waiting to happen,” said Destiny Smith, a MNPS parent
Smith has heard from other parents who have the same concerns, so she started the “Walk in, Walk out” Facebook page.
She says she plans to walk into Westmeade Elementary School on Thursday with her kids, pick up their report cards, say goodbye for the Summer and walk out. She encourages other parents to do the same to send a message they believe schools should be closed on Election Day.
“We want Metro to see we feel strongly about this,” said Smith. “Hopefully, they can rally whoever is at the top of the chain to say this is not acceptable.”
Thursday will mark the last day of school for Metro students and is a half day.
In a statement, a spokesperson for MNPS said because the district is supported by public tax dollars, by law it must provide open and accessible polling locations. The law can only be changed through the state legislature. MNPS sought approval from the Commissioner of Education to close schools on May 24, but the request was denied.
Voters at schools will be directed to enter and exit schools through a dedicated outside entrance. Smith said Westmeade Elementary school teachers plan to lock classroom doors and take additional safety procedures.
“They told us principals will have safeguards in place and offered to have School Resource Officers come in and patrol.”
Smith said the last day of school is normally relaxed and fun, but when it comes to her kids’ safety she didn’t want to take any chances.
“Our kids are important, we don’t want to wait for a tragedy to happen before we make some changes,” said Smith.
MNPS officials said if students choose to stay home it will count as an unexcused absence. Parents with concerns were urged to contact their principal or the MNPS info line at (615) 259-INFO. They could also reach out to the Election Commission.