FIRST ON FOX: Parents of first-graders at a popular Center City Philadelphia public school were outraged after they were sent a notification for a forthcoming drag queen story hour with their classroom.
Fox News obtained an email sent to parents of a first-grade class at the Albert M. Greenfield School near Rittenhouse Square, telling them their child’s classroom will be participating in Drag Queen Story Hour, with the missive going on to highlight the program’s attributes and recent awards.
The program in question was created by a Philadelphia drag queen with the help of educators from museums and schools around town, the email says, adding the events aim to promote literacy “with style, flair and creativity” through stories of love, acceptance and diversity.
A parents group leader told Fox News she was contacted by a Greenfield parent who was concerned and outraged over the email, saying they did not want their child privy to such an event.
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The parent who provided the email further asked for anonymity to protect them and their child from backlash or ostracization.
“School districts across the Commonwealth are pushing adult topics and concepts on children earlier and earlier, forcing families to address topics that they may feel are inappropriate for their children,” the group leader, Ada Nestor, told Fox News.
“These decisions need to be left with the family,” she said, adding that other parents have voiced similar concerns about this and other situations geared toward juvenile audiences.
In a response to Fox News Digital, a spokesperson for the School District of Philadelphia said the district is “proud to collaborate with a variety of community partners to provide an array of events and opportunities” as part of a commitment to engender inclusivity and foster “positive academic, social and emotional outcomes for our students.”
The district said the Drag Queen Story Hour program has been popular throughout Pennsylvania’s largest city as a vessel to “inspire and uplift students,” adding that while an event has not been formally scheduled at Greenfield, information about the event was shared with parents to allow them to offer feedback and questions.
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They added that parents can opt their children out if they so choose.
In response to the Philadelphia parent’s concern, Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial nominee State Sen. Doug Mastriano pledged if elected to appoint a secretary of education who would curb “woke nonsense” and focus instead on “preparing students for the real world.”
“Our schools need to get back to the basics of education, not indoctrination. It’s absurd for anyone to think that a sexually-charged story-hour with drag queens is appropriate for young children,” Mastriano told Fox News, adding he will “fight to expand parental rights” in education.
In response to questions about drag queen story hour programs for children and whether they are a worthwhile use of Pennsylvania taxpayer dollars, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro’s campaign said the sitting Commonwealth attorney general is focused on improving schools and giving parents a voice.
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“Unlike Doug Mastriano, Josh Shapiro is focused on ensuring parents have a real voice in their children’s education, and that’s why he’ll appoint two parents to the State Board of Education for the first time,” Shapiro for Pennsylvania spokesperson Manuel Bonder told Fox News.
In a recent op-ed, Shapiro wrote he plans to “fix” the education system and provide substantive resources for students’ mental health and vocational training.
One drag performer recently weighed in during a Fox News interview.
“If I was performing for an audience and I saw a child, I would walk out,” Kitty Demure said Friday.
In another recent case, a Texas drag performer was captured on video lip-syncing a sexually-explicit song’s lyrics while gyrating, as a child sat front-and-center among the other adults.
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The event, reportedly billed as an “all-ages drag brunch,” drew the ire of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who criticized the “totally inappropriate acts” before calling on the state legislature to provide him power to take action if municipal authorities refuse.
In describing drag queen story hours, Manhattan Institute fellow Christopher Rufo wrote in a recent essay such events have become a public “flashpoint,” wherein “the political right has denounced these performances as sexual transgressions against children, while the political left has defended them as an expression of LGBTQ pride.”
Rufo went on to say there have been “real-world conflict[s]” borne out of the controversial events.