MONROEVILLE (KDKA) – Voters will head to the polls for a special election in the 18th Congressional District next week.
It’s a tight race between Republican Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb.
Several schools in the area will serve as polling places for the special election.
While some schools will be closed for the day, one elementary school in the Gateway School District will remain open. As a result, some parents are concerned about the safety of students with voters filing in and out of the building all day.
An armed police officer stood outside Cleveland Steward Elementary School Wednesday morning, as students were dropped off for the start of school.
Students will be in class next Tuesday, when the school will double as a polling precinct for the 18th Congressional District special election.
“People in and out of that school all day when every other election day it’s closed. Why is this any different?” one woman said.
The woman, who didn’t want to be identified, said in light of incidents like the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, classes should be cancelled for the special election.
“Plum had a school threat, they closed. And that was just for a threat, a phone call. These are going to be hundreds of people in and out of this school,” she said.
A letter dated March 5 was sent home to parents, explaining that the district’s superintendent, Dr. William Short, requested a change of venue for the polling place, but it was ultimately denied.
“I think it’s very lame, minimal. Once they denied it, it’s simple. You’re the superintendent, you cancel school when it’s snowing, cancel school for a threat. This is like opening a doorway for an unnecessary situation,” one man said.
The letter informs parents that Gateway School Police officers will have a definitive presence at the school that day, with officers inside the building to ensure that voters will only have access to the multipurpose room for voting and no other areas of the school.
So far, the Gateway School District has not returned our calls.