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To keep strangers away from students, officials propose making Election Day a statewide teacher work day

"In light of Uvalde, do we want to go about acting as if there's nothing different?" Sen. Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio, asked.

SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio officials are lobbying to make Election Day a statewide teacher work day so students are not in class while strangers vote on their campuses. 

Almost 70 percent of Bexar County polling places are in school buildings, including libraries and gymnasiums. 

"Every other day, we make it to where you can't get into a school without showing your ID or having a little background check," said Sen. Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio. "All of a sudden, on Election Day, people can just walk through? We can do better."

"In light of Uvalde, do we want to go about it acting as if there's nothing different?" he continued. 

After a gunman murdered 21 people at Robb Elementary, school districts are hurrying to fortify facilities and bolster security. Bexar County elections officials have expressed concern that districts may be unwilling to open their doors to voters on Election Day. 

"Since Uvalde was so recent, it's absolutely fresh in everybody's minds," said Bexar County sheriff Javier Salazar. 

Many school districts, including NISD, have already designated Nov. 8 as a teacher work day and excused students from class. Menendez, Salazar, and Bexar County elections administrator Jacque Callanen say they want all Texas schools to follow suit. 

"If we remove kiddos from the equation, it gives us a bit less to worry about," Salazar said. 

Other Bexar county officials have floated the idea of consolidating polling places away from schools to ease educators' concerns. Menendez says this strategy should be a last resort. 

He warns that some residents may not vote on Election Day if their preferred polling place closes. 

It's not clear which, if any, districts have asked the county to keep ballot booths out of their facilities on Nov. 8. NISD, NEISD, and Edgewood ISD told KENS 5 Tuesday they've made no such request. 

Under state law, Bexar County could force unwilling school districts to host voters. Officials are trying to avoid that scenario. 

"We want to work with school districts," Menendez said. "We're not trying to force people into a situation that doesn't feel comfortable."

Authorities have roughly three months to address any concerns and form a new plan. 

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