Should Woburn Have Closed Schools During Election?

As Sen. Scott Brown and several media outlets descended on the Reeves School, some questions whether school should be in session during an election.


A photograph, a wave, a shout from a classroom. Those three things started a swirl of controversy on Woburn Patch's Facebook page yesterday.

Sen. Scott Brown, followed by a crowd of out-of-town supporters, visited Woburn yesterday afternoon at the Reeves Elementary School polls. As he walked into the building, a group of students waved frantically from their classroom. The senator waved, and one child shouted, "We love you, Scott!"

As Brown left, a group of children gathered on the stairs with their teacher, and the senator impulsively ran up to greet them, shaking hands with many children.

The photographs were posted on Woburn Patch, prompting criticism from readers:

"My kid goes to Reeves and I'm troubled that any candidate would show up in the middle of the school day for a partisan love-in... Brown should have waited until school was out." — TW Lock, via e-mail.

"This is awful—I have nothing against Scott Brown, but the added danger [of] him being at a building full if students could pose [sic] is not ok! We as a community have to get voting out of public schools or at least not have students in the building on election days!!!!" — Kristina Barrucci Peitzsch, via Facebook.

But one reader supported the use of public schools as pollings places:

"I've lived in Woburn my entire life and no child has ever been hurt because of voting. Maybe it is actually setting a good example of how a democracy works." — Julie Fay Marlowe, via Facebook.

UPDATE: After reading several comments from residents, Woburn Patch contacted Asst. Supt. Gary Reese this morning for the School Department's thoughts:

"Both the school staff, as well as the police department, work together to provide a safe voting situation for the community. At no time were the students at risk from our perspective. We appreciate the feedback from the community and we will continue to look at that as we move forward… There were no members of the public using Kindergarten bathrooms at Goodyear while students were present." — Asst. Supt. Gary Reese, via telephone.

Now it's your turn. Tell us how you feel: Should Woburn have closed schools during the election? Or should the city keep students in schools and use it as a teachable moment?

Rach November 08, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Quit being helicopter parents, your children are more likely to be harmed in the car with you than from a voter on election day.
getoutthetruth November 09, 2012 at 05:06 AM
I think the problem is that we allow sex offenders out of jail and we keep our kids in lock down. It is insanity. Voting is a process that has been in the local neighborhood school for years. If the overprotective parents are concerned about their children they should keep them home during elections. Further these same parents should reconsider voting for members of the legislature who let sex offenders and other hardcore criminals out on parole so they can live so close to schools and families they prey on!
Toniann Holmes November 09, 2012 at 11:31 AM
I agree with you Kathy. I was also actually at three different schools on election day and I was also impressed with how well everything flowed. The staff and some police officers kept everything under control.
Toniann Holmes November 09, 2012 at 11:41 AM
I have to say that election day was great. I dropped off my 3 kids at two different elementary schools and then continued on to vote at another elementary school. I went to 3 different elementary schools in the morning and they all had everything under control. As far as people walking around the school that don't belong there, I have seen first hand school officials stop people and ask what they are doing there. They are very serious about school safety. Both of my kids elementary schools protect each and every child. All 3 of my kids enjoyed election day and all that they learned in school. I think the candidates should go to the schools and set up times to talk to the kids and help the kids learn issues. Frankly, parking at schools is a nightmare to begin with, even when its not election day.
Edward Quinn November 09, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Danielle I was not suggesting the Stoneham case was anything more then an example of how things in a normal day can become tragic. Election day especially the Presidential Election years are anything but normal.


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