NYC public school staff deserve Election Day fully off


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The Editorial Board

The polls opened early morning on Nov. 2 for the 2021 New York City elections. While many voters made their way to the polls to cast their long-awaited votes, New York City public schools were still in session, but instead of being in-person they were held remotely.

While this may seem like a good idea at first, seeing as students, parents and school staff wouldn’t have to deal with public transportation delays or any crowding near polling sites, having classes on Election Day does more harm than good for voter turnout, and as a consequence, the election results.

Many of the young people who are eligible to vote are stuck in classes rather than being able to go out and exercise their rights. Parents who use school as a means of childcare while they are at work now have the responsibility of staying home and watching their children.

Furthermore, New York City public school staff are now unable to access voting booths.

Even if they can get out of school around 3:00 p.m., the average time most public schools end in New York City, polling sites on Election Day are extremely crowded making them inaccessible.

In addition, many private  schools give Election Day off, allowing their staff to be able to get out and vote. Public school staff deserves that same right.

Having instruction on Election Day is a clear barrier to political participation for public school staff. Thus, these individuals should be given paid time off to exercise their right to vote.

Schools have been closed for celebratory sports competitions such as the Super Bowl, so there is no reason Election Day,  which is arguably more important, should be any different.

Participating in elections is one of the many freedoms of life in the United States. Many people in other countries around the world do not have the same freedom, nor did many Americans in centuries past, whether it was due to race or social class.

No matter what one believes or who one supports, it is vital to exercise one’s rights, and New York City public school staff should not be barred from exercising their rights.