Election day turns out to be another holiday for children

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 5, 2003

It hit me like a ton of bricks Monday evening. After my son, Brandon, finished up basketball practice, I asked him if he had any homework.

"Dad," he said. "I don't have school tomorrow. It's election day."

Election day? I know it is one of the most important days of the year, but I didn't realize it is now observed as a holiday. No school on election day?

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When we got home, I consulted the schedule Brandon's teacher sent home with him the first day of school - the one that has been hanging on our refrigerator for more than two months now. Sure enough, no school on election day.

Since it was so late when I found out about Brandon's day off, finding a sitter was out of the question. Instead, he got to enjoy a nice day of adventure at the office.

I don't blame anybody but myself, though, for not knowing school was not in session yesterday. I

do not, however, understand the logic of skipping class on election day.

Sure, most schools are used for polling places, but voters are usually only occupying one area of the building, such as the gymnasium or cafeteria. You could expect increased traffic at the school, but let's face it, most people do not vote until later in the afternoon, well after school has dismissed. I voted at 1 p.m. Tuesday, and as of that time, my precinct had only had 35 people vote.

I remember when I was in school. Through elementary, middle school and high school, all of my buildings were used for the election. Occasionally, we would run into a few people in the halls, but for the most part, it was almost like the voters were not there.

Am I against letting school out during the election? Not necessarily. I guess I

just do not understand the logic.

To me, this would be the perfect time to teach the children about democracy, how important it is to vote and the election process. Teachers could coordinate their plans so that this part of their lessons is taught at this time.

I'm sure someone out there will eventually enlighten me as to why it is necessary to not have school on election day. Until then, though, I see it as an unnecessary holiday that places a burden on parents.

Shawn Doyle is managing editor of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached by calling (740) 532-1445 ext. 19 or by e-mail to shawn.doyle@irontontribune.com