District 308 Wrestling With Election Day School Security
Feb 25, 2014 12:22PM
● By Steven Jack
Photo credit: Flckr Creative Commons
A member of the Oswego District 308 School Board was taken to task Monday night for his stance on a proposal to include plain-clothed police officers at district polling places on Election Day March 18.
At the board’s Feb. 10 meeting board member Brent Lightfoot said a provision in an Election Day polling place agreement between the district and the city of Aurora to include an Aurora officer at the Wheatlands and Homestead elementary schools was unnecessary. The district is negotiating a similar agreement with Kendall County officials for sheriff’s deputies at the remaining schools used as polling places.
“I understand the thought process behind providing additional security because we will have members of the public in the building,” Lightfoot said Feb. 10. “However, this hasn’t been a problem before. Yes, I understand there are stupid people in the world who are willing to do stupid things, but I feel like this is reactionary. I don’t think it’s needed.”
Having read a report on the issue in the Ledger-Sentinel newspaper, concerned parent Craig Krulewich addressed Lightfoot's comments Monday night.
“Why do we need to not keep our children safe,” he asked. “Why are we putting a price on having a police officer and a car out in front for an afternoon and an evening? Why are we putting a price on our children? … Keeping our children safe is not reactionary."
The proposal to include officers at the district’s eight polling places would not rely on district funding, and would be paid for by the city of Aurora and Kendall County, according to Associate Superintendent Paul O’Malley.
O’Malley said another reason for the officers would be to allow voters to enter district buildings without having to show photo identification and be put through the district’s new extensive identification procedure, as required with all other school visitors.
Forcing voters to show photo identification could have the district running afoul of the state’s election law that requires no photo identification for those voting on Election Day.
At the Feb. 10 meeting the board voted to table the proposal to Monday’s meeting. The proposal did not appear on the agenda, and it was not discussed by the board.
Board President Bill Walsh, who supports including officers at school polling places on Election Day, said the proposal will come up for a vote at the board's next meeting March 10.