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Trustees don’t want schools used for elections

Schools should be used as election polling stations only as a last resort, Livingstone Range School Board trustees said last week.
Student safety and disruption of the school day were cited as concerns following the provincial election in April.
“I’ve had parents express concerns,” school board chairman Brad Toone said.
Toone said at the May 8 school board meeting at the G.R. Davis Administration Building in Fort Macleod that school staff did a good job managing disruption to students.
Parents told Toone they were concerned about the safety risk posed to students as schools were opened to the public with unfettered access.
Trustees weren’t sure why schools were chosen for polling stations in recent elections.
Trustee Clara Yagos suggested contacting Elections Alberta to find out.
I’m not sure why they selected schools when you’re disrupting the whole school day,” trustee John McKee said.
Toone wanted the board to act on the issue immediately to address the safety concerns.
Trustee Lacey Poytress agreed.
“I don’t really understand why we’re not just saying no to this,” Poytress said, adding children thrive in structured environments. “There are other places these elections can and have been held in past.”
Trustee Greg Long said he didn’t recall schools in the Crowsnest Pass being used for polling stations.
“I don’t care for the idea of them using the schools at all,” Long said.
Long said in most places there are halls and other places that could be used.
Superintendent Darryl Seguin said there is some value in schools hosting polling stations in that students get a chance to see democracy in action.
However, Seguin understood the concerns.
“There are probably other facilities in the communities that could be used,” Seguin agreed.
Toone said that rather than prohibiting schools from being used in all cases, the board could provide flexibility for future trustees.
Long suggested a motion stating schools are only to be used for polling stations as a last resort, when no other facilities are available in a community.
Trustees approved a motion that when schools are used for elections when no other facility is available, classes are cancelled for that day.