The Elmbrook School District is beefing up security for election days starting in April.
With three currently operating schools serving as polling places for elections in the city of Brookfield, certain security measures, such as entry into school buildings, are relaxed in order to welcome voters.
However, some parents have expressed concerns with that and wonder if there should be other added security measures on those days.
Elmbrook has been working with city of Brookfield Mayor Steve Ponto to implement an extra layer of security in Dixon, Burleigh and Swanson schools starting in April in order to address those concerns and make certain that buildings remain secure.
"Part of it is to respond to parent questions, but it's also just a continuous effort that the district has to increase safety and security practices," Elmbrook Chief Information Officer Chris Thompson said.
In order to achieve that end, the Brookfield Police Depatment will be assigning an officer to each of the aforementioned schools during April's election day.
"We've been discussing the best ways to make sure that there aren't any security problems on election days," Ponto said. "I think, right now, there are only three polling places that would need to possibly have a police officer and that is Dixon, Burleigh and Swanson."
Thompson noted that the district has already made previous efforts to keep schools secure during elections by attempting to create separation between voters visiting the school and students.
"For example with Dixon, we try to isolate traffic. People vote in the gym and so all traffic for polling goes into the gym doors and not the main entrance," Thompson said. "That kind of closes off the rest of the building."
Thompson says that a similar practice is used at Burleigh, where voting is done in the cafeteria, but admitted that there is not an easy way to funnel voters away from areas occupied by students at Swanson.
"Voting is in the gym and the only way to get in is through the main entrance," Thompson said. "Still, there's never been a problem."
In addition to the voters visiting schools, one parent also noted a concern about children potentially being able to slip out of school due to the increased foot traffic.
"I feel like, on any given day, our protocols for the safety and security of the children would allow us to handle that," Thompson said. "It's not a free-for-all in the hallway. It's just people walking in and going to the gym."
Elmbrook Superintendent Mark Hansen took time to thank Ponto and the city for helping them in addressing the issue.
"We value and appreciate the collaborative relationship we have with the mayor and other city of Brookfield officials," Hansen said. "By working together, we are able to meet the needs of our students and families while ensuring community access to our schools that serve as polling locations."