There have been a whole lot of critics voicing opposition to the Guilford County Schools new practice of busing students to the polls to vote, but at least one Guilford County Commissioner – Skip Alston – said this week that he’s more than fine with the practice, and he said it’s somewhat absurd that some of his fellow county commissioners do have problems with it.
Recently, the Rhino Times reported that, for the first time, the Guilford County school system would use school buses to take students to the polls to vote during class time. Several county commissioners – not to mention many other people – were taken aback by the plan. Once the article came out, many people voiced criticisms of the plan.
The critics’ points of contention cover a lot of territory. Some are concerned that the local educational system – often considered liberal-leaning – could explicitly or implicitly encourage the students to vote a certain way. Others say they’re concerned about the added cost at a time when the schools say they don’t have the money for even regular classroom activities. Other critics on social media asked why there seemed to be little to no oversight of the bus to vote initiative.
Apparently, none of the Guilford County commissioners knew ahead of time, and some, if not all, school board members also didn’t know about it.
Some critics consider such an important change to be something that should have come before the commissioners – or, at the very least, the school board.
Other county residents are arguing that, even if there’s no political persuasion of students going on, the schools are effecting a political end because younger voters, they say, would be more likely to vote for school bonds and also more likely to vote Democratic.
School system officials stated publicly this week that this trip is just like any other civic education field trip, and, when those take place, school board officials are not routinely notified. Also, they say, the school system is only getting non-partisan help in the effort and it’s bending over backwards to assure the mentors do nothing to attempt to sway how the kids vote.
While some Republican Guilford County commissioners have had a whole lot of questions about the process, Commissioner Alston said everyone is making a mountain out of a molehill.
He said that Republican county commissioners have kids in Guilford County Schools just like Democratic elected officials do.
“What? They don’t want their kids to vote?” Alston said of the Republicans.
He said that those students who are the children of Republican commissioners are likely to cast conservative votes.
“I love it,” Alston said of the schools busing students to the polls to exercise their right to vote.
He also said there was no reason for the school board to be informed about or approve the new program.
“The school board doesn’t know about all field trips,” he said.