NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- Seven of the 11 schools in the Niagara Falls City School District will be used as polling places this coming Tuesday, and the superintendent wants to assure parents that they will be safe for students.
While districts like Buffalo and Ken-Ton and others give students Election Day off because they are used as polling sites, Niagara Falls and many other districts keep kids in class.
"We're prepared for it," said Mark Laurrie, superintendent in the Falls. He said the district will have security officers at every school being used as a polling site, and the areas are designed in such a way to have a barrier between kids in class and voters at the polls.
This has been one of the most contentious presidential elections ever. A recent poll from USA Today and Suffolk University found 51% of Americans are 'somewhat concerned' or 'very concerned' about violence at polling places.
"Our polling sites are kind of off to one side, one of the entrances, and we're going to put on a safety staff person or a security officer just to make sure that the flow of traffic goes in for voting and leaves," Laurrie said.
Elections commissioners in Erie and Niagara Counties said over the years they've dramatically reduced the number of schools used as polling places. However, sometimes there's no alternative.
In North Tonawanda, for instance, only one public school is used for voting. Parents at Spruce Elementary have raised concerns.
Laurrie said in his district, schools have been used as polling sites for many years.
But he acknowledges this year seems different.
But Laurrie said he does not anticipate any problems here locally.
"We'll do everything that we can to keep Tuesday, November 8 running as smoothly and safely as we do every single day," Laurrie said.