A Stephen King quote from the novella “The Breathing Method” goes, “It is the tale, not he who tells it.”

This is how I feel about what seems like an explosion of drag queen storytime hours across New Jersey. The latest is happening in Fair Lawn on Sunday and is just part of an LGBTQ pride festival. It’s Pride Month, after all. It’s taking the form of a four-hour Pride block party on June 26 in front of their municipal building starting at 12:30 p.m.

There will be speakers from the LGBTQ community. There will be a performance by the Fair Lawn Pride Chorus. And, among other things, a Drag Queen Story Hour for kids.

According to NJ.com there have been complaints about the entire event being held and five pieces of hate mail specifically against the story hour. A conservative group is planning a demonstration.

Mayor Kurt Peluso is unswayed. He says the event is going on as planned.

Now here’s the thing. Just my opinion. On one hand, it’s always good to get children drawn into literacy. Reading is the path to educating. On the other, the only problem I ever had with drag queen story hours is if the drag queen aspect dwarfs and eclipses the story reading aspect.

Drag Queen Story Hour via Facebook
Drag Queen Story Hour via Facebook

As long as the star of the show is the story, the tale, and the focus is there, it shouldn’t matter much who is reading to the kids. If it’s a nurse, a drag queen, a cop, a man or a woman, a person of one race or another, a little person or a woman in a wheelchair, none of that should be the focus.

If kids see someone who is different, it’s not going to send the Earth flying off its axis. It’s fine. We don’t live in a conservative vacuum. Especially not in New Jersey.

Drag Queen Story Hour via Facebook
Drag Queen Story Hour via Facebook

If, however, the focus seems entirely on the reader and not on the material this is where some parents feel there could be an agenda in play.

There have already been enough drag queen story hours in New Jersey that haven’t ended with 3-year-olds being terribly confused. Most likely because they’re doing it the right way. They’re likely adhering to that Stephen Kingism….

It is the tale, not he who tells it.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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The lists below show 4-year graduation rates for New Jersey public schools for the 2020-21 school year. The statewide graduation rate fell slightly, from 91% in 2019-20 to 90.6%.

The lists, which are sorted by county and include a separate list for charter schools, also include a second graduation rate, which excludes students whose special education IEPs allow them to qualify for diplomas despite not meeting typical coursework and attendance requirements.

Columns with an asterisk or 'N' indicate there was no data or it was suppressed to protect student privacy.

Average SAT scores for all NJ high schools, 2020-21

Average SAT scores for the 2020-2021 school year are listed by county, from highest to lowest. Data includes the combined score, as well as the average scores on the math and reading/writing sections.

Participation rates show the share of 12th graders in the Class of 2021 who took the SAT in 2020-21 or in prior years.

High schools aren't listed if there is no data or the number of students participating was low enough that average scores were not publicly reported to protect student privacy.

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