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Polling Day - School Closure

(151 Posts)
user1495955132 Sun 28-May-17 09:08:18

Just trying to canvas opinion as they're very mixed amongst my circle of friends & family. DD's (year 3/primary) school is being used as a polling station and for the first time since we've been attending the school it's being kept open for the day. They will only be using the dinner hall and the two sets of internal doors which lead into the school will be kept locked. All children bring or are supplied with a packed lunch, and all classrooms lead straight into the playground, so no reason for them to be in the corridors or anywhere near the dinner hall. All necessary safeguarding measures in place. However, it just doesn't sit right with me. Not sure whether it's in light of recent events and all the political unrest at the moment, but if anything was going to happen at the school, surely polling day, and giving the general public (and random nutters) access to the school, would create the perfect opportunity. I'm a SAHM so it doesn't make any difference to me, and I appreciate that for working parents taking days off for school closures is a pita, but dates like polling day are worked out well in advance so I don't see why the school can't work these around inset days. It's a smallish village school (approx 360 children) but we are close to an international airport and recently had an incident with a gunman on the loose 2 roads away from the school - cue police helicopters, school lockdown etc. Turned out to be the local nutter with an air rifle who was off his face on drugs, but still ..... We have all been informed that keeping children home for the day would not be looked upon favourably, and as one helpful teacher pointed out, if somebody got it into their heads, it would be easy to stand behind the fence and spray the playground with bullets on any day of the week, so why should polling day pose any more of a risk than any other hmm. So, my AIBU is, should I stick with my gut instinct that it's just not worth the risk? There's at least another 3 mums that I know of in DDs class that feel the same, one of the school governors is not happy about it and a friends mum who works for Ofsted also thinks it's an unnecessary risk, so I'm kind of thinking it's not just me being an overprotective parent, iyswim.

Ineedagoodusername Sun 28-May-17 09:09:22

To be fair this one want known about well in advance.

spanieleyes Sun 28-May-17 09:10:07

Erm, this polling day wasn't "worked out well in advance" was it!

Jupitar Sun 28-May-17 09:11:47

I'm sure I read this same post before the local elections, or am I going completely mad confused

FitbitAddict Sun 28-May-17 09:12:52

School term dates for 2017-18 were set months ago. Do you already know of any elections due to take place in that period? So no, they are not worked out well in advance!

SellFridges Sun 28-May-17 09:13:59

I would welcome this at our school. In two years we have lost four days of school for polling. I see no reason why they need to use the school (there's a church hall across the road which the council refuse to pay a nominal fee to hire), let alone all of it (it's two buildings with two additional separate classrooms).

1981trouble Sun 28-May-17 09:14:38

Our school are taking half the school on a trip and the rest are using another part of the building. The voting takes place in a mobile classroom which has fencing put around it.

dementedpixie Sun 28-May-17 09:15:45

The general election wasn't known about well in advance though. Our primary school is having an in service day so pupils will be off.

Starlighter Sun 28-May-17 09:16:27

How strange!! I wouldn't like that at all! School gates are kept locked for a reason. Having a load of randoms wandering in and out all day wouldn't sit well with me. What about drop off and pick up??

Iamastonished Sun 28-May-17 09:16:44

360 children in a primary school isn't a small school in my book. There were 142 children at DD's primary school.

In answer to the AIBU. Yes, IMO. I think you are overthinking it. This polling day wasn't worked out well in advance either.

WipsGlitter Sun 28-May-17 09:17:47

dementedpixie this is a snap election so only called a few weeks ago.

My kids are at two separate schools and both are closed. Very annoying.

WipsGlitter Sun 28-May-17 09:18:37

Sorry just read your post properly demented!!

sonjadog Sun 28-May-17 09:19:16

I see your point. Since there are a group of you who are concerned about this, could you get together and contact the head/governors together?

BlondeB83 Sun 28-May-17 09:19:24

6 weeks, not exactly well in advance. YABU.

CinderellasBroom Sun 28-May-17 09:21:13

YABU The voters are separated from the kids by locked doors, from what you've said, so no risk from random adults in school. The risk of a terrorist attack on a random polling station is minuscule, and on that basis you should also avoid driving with your kids, taking them to a shopping centre or on holiday. I'd be (inwardly) quite cross with your attitude if I was one of the parents at your school - it's a massive over-reaction which rather grates in the light of what some people have gone through recently.

Majorgoodwinschickenbeatstrump Sun 28-May-17 09:22:00

I don't understand why they use schools in the first place to be honest... surely there are enough church halls/ community rooms etc dotted around the place?

GU24Mum Sun 28-May-17 09:22:56

TBH I do think you are being over-cautious. I know that the random nature of attacks means that nothing is definitely unsafe and nothing definitely safe but over 140 people are killed on the roads every month but we all keep on driving.

EllaHen Sun 28-May-17 09:23:20

It didn't enter my head to keep the DC off school. Their primary is considerably bigger than yours.

Do yes, YABU. It's about weighing up risk. Small children are most at risk in cars or as pedestrians I think. Might be wrong but polling day risk is very small.

ILoveMyMonkey Sun 28-May-17 09:24:00

YANBU, schools shouldn't be used as polling stations full stop!!! There are plenty of other places that could, and should, be used.

It sounds like a PITA for the school to organise all the safeguarding for the day and like starlighter said what happens at drop off and pick up, it's not like they'll shut the polling station while kids are coming and going. I hope the school won't let children (even yr6) leave alone that day with all the randoms hanging about!

msgrinch Sun 28-May-17 09:24:01

Yabu. There's been 6 weeks to plan not "ages". If you're worried about your ickle wickle snowflake then keep it off school but honestly people are getting ridiculous now.

Iamastonished Sun 28-May-17 09:25:15

"surely there are enough church halls/ community rooms etc dotted around the place?"

Well, actually, no there aren't. In our village there is a church hall, so the school stays open. In many areas there are no public buildings, so they do have to use schools. My old primary school was used as a polling station, but I can't remember whether it was closed or not on polling day.

SnickersWasAHorse Sun 28-May-17 09:26:05

At our school they use one of the classrooms with the children from that classroom moved to another. The public access the room via a separate entrance.

There has never been a problem. The world isn't full of random nutter ready to grab children no matter what the Daily Mail tells you. Do you worry like this when you take your children to the park or swimming pool. Far more public access in those places.

I think you are being ridiculous, sorry.

vickibee Sun 28-May-17 09:33:33

Our school is doing exactly same our school is on a split site the main hall where voting will take place is just across road so main school is not affected. I agree that schools should not close for an election.

OdinsLoveChild Sun 28-May-17 09:33:54

YABU safeguarding is in place and the general public will not be in contact with the children.

As a pp said, you wouldn't take your children shopping or to the park or anywhere if you applied the same logic through your entire life.

The risk of anything happening is really very tiny. Millions of people interact with complete strangers every single day with no issues, worries or concerns.

The issue of schools being used is a different matter. Our school is closed despite having a choice of a village hall, a WI hall and a Welfare Club all positioned in a triangle on the same village green yet they close the school to vote. hmm

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