LOUDOUN Co., Va. - A group of parents with students in Loudoun County Public Schools are asking the School Board to close during the Virginia Presidential Primary Election.
Schools had planned to open on a two-hour delay schedule on March 1, allowing early-morning voters time to cast their ballots without seriously interrupting students' schedules, but parents now say this leaves them concerned about security risks.
In a change.org petition started by Caitlyn Brown, parents argue that "opening schools to the public raises many red flags and makes our schools vulnerable."
The petition goes on to say that "schools are locked during school days to prevent student risk" and expresses parents' dismay that those "protocols will be lifted" for the election.
Brown started the petition two days ago. So far, it has received over 1,500 signatures and many messages of support from parents.
"We no longer live in the times where letting random people into a school is safe. Most schools now have a process of having all that enter the school show ID before entering," wrote Katie Serensits, of Leesburg. "Why this process is being removed during this day makes no sense. Any person could walk in with a grudge and bad things can happen. I would rather my child and all children in the county miss one day to know that they are all safe than to put so many lives at risk."
Another parent, Michelle Faber, of Chantilly, echoed Serensits' statement.
"Why in this day and age, opening the schools to the general public to exercise their right to vote, with open doors and no id required etc. is more important than following protocol set in place after Sandy Hook is beyond me," she wrote. "God forbid anything should happen. It's an open invitation for some perp to waltz in without restriction to possibly carry out an unfathomable crime that I am sure LCPS doesn't want to be responsible for or part of a statistic that we will forever be known for."
The petition has a goal of 2,500 signatures.