It’s Election Day. Here’s What PDS Has Done to Prepare Us.

Arjun Ray, Online Staff Writer

With November 4th growing closer and the electoral sensation continuing to tighten its grip on America, both the Princeton Day School administration and student body are taking steps to prepare for what seems to be the most chaotic period of 2020 yet. Among the largest of these measures was announced last week, when Head of Upper School Mr. Rhodes revealed at an Upper School Gathering that we would not have school on November 4, the day after the election, an unprecedented move in the previous election years. Although every Upper Schooler has experienced presidential elections before, PDS’s decision reflects the historical significance and unique nature of this specific moment. Mr. Rhodes elaborated by saying that it was in an effort to ease tensions and allow students to process the information from the night before. 

Since 2016, political polarization has tapped into every aspect of our lives; balanced, holistic discussions and media are becoming a rarer sight, and the tough questions about our country are being left unanswered, leaving the ever-widening spectral rift to grow. However, one positive result of this social shift has been more youth involvement in activism. Growing numbers of folks under the legal voting age have taken it upon themselves to form views and collect information on current affairs, especially the election. For many, this election is seen as crucial to the future of our generation. Sophomore Kyler Zhou reflected, “I think this year’s election is a tipping point for the future of the country. We are living in a time full of discord and change.” When asked about the candidates, he responded, “We must make sure that we elect a leader that genuinely wants to move the country forward and reduce the divisiveness present right now.” For other students, this election is also an important opportunity to help create change on other issues. According to freshman Charlie Littman, “I think that the most important issue right now is climate change, which one candidate will act on while the other won’t. This is an issue which we only have a few years left to act on, according to science.” Littman too agreed about division, stating, “The nation has been more divided since the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Another step PDS is taking ahead of the election is organizing a mock election, which Council President Alex Hollander has announced. It is meant to be an opportunity to hear different voices, with Hollander further stating, “council encourages everyone to express their political opinion to the PDS community through this mock election, especially those who are not legally eligible to vote.” According to Spokesman writer Elaine Wu, the outcome of the mock election is likely to favor former VP Joe Biden, as a result of New Jersey’s population aligning heavily with the Democratic Party by most polls and earlier results.

Lastly, on November 2, Mr. Rhodes hosted another Upper School Gathering to describe the electoral process, its precedent, and the importance of reliable news and polling data. In doing so, he worked to combat any misinformation and provide some insight into the election that students might not receive otherwise.