KARAOKE CONTEST! Strangers in the Schools: A Song for Glen Ridge NJ on Election Day

Readers — Show us your chops!

Here’s a song I wrote last night, inspired by this AP story by Nedra Pickler about some schools, including  those in Glen Ridge, NJ, that “want to end their traditional role as polling places because of security concerns since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.” (As one commenter once wrote about this issue, “Guess all of those Election Day Massacres finally took a toll.” )

Your job? SING THE SONG AND SEND US A LINK in the comments below! Or just send me the video via email: heylenore3@gmail.com . Do it by Sunday, Jan. 12. I’ll post some of the versions on the blog and the winner chosen by a distinguished panel of one will get an autographed copy of Free-Range Kids! Here’s the karaoke version of Strangers in the Night to sing along to:

STRANGERS IN THE SCHOOLS by Lenore Skenazy ( to the tune of “Strangers in the Night”)

Strangers in the schools, I look askance as

Strangers fill the schools, let’s take no chances

What if they have come with a grenade or two?


Something in their eyes, it’s so forboding

Look at how they smile, they say they’re “voting”

Something in my heart, tells me they’re perverts too!


Strangers in the schools!

Yes,  they’re my neighbors, but they’re strangers in the schools!

And at that moment when they walk into the gym, hope for life grows dim

Bludgeon all the kids they may, to celebrate Election Day.


So — If you want your kids avoiding dangers

Never let your kids encounter strangers

Strangers like the ghouls who go and vote in schools.


Scooby Dooby BOO!

Scooby Dooby BOO!

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19 Responses to KARAOKE CONTEST! Strangers in the Schools: A Song for Glen Ridge NJ on Election Day

  1. LauraL January 5, 2014 at 8:26 am #

    Beautiful, beautiful!

  2. Lisa January 5, 2014 at 8:28 am #

    This made me lol. Bludgeon is an underused term. Thanks for this.

  3. Mark Davis January 5, 2014 at 8:58 am #

    Awesome! Well done, Lenore.

  4. Kimberly Herbert January 5, 2014 at 9:29 am #

    I was disappointed that voting was moved from our school this November, the election judges are terrific and always let me bring the kids by and they explain the procedures of voting and give the kids stickers.

    It wasn’t a security issue. Just that it was an off year election. They were able to consolidate precints because it was mostly admindents and bond issues because it was an odd numbered year. Next year they will be back.

    We had an issue a few years ago. A lawsuit about gerrymandering kept pushing the primaries back. When they were finally scheduled it was the same date as the TAKS test (bend your head in reverence of the all mighty test). So the schools couldn’t be used because TEA rules state that for test security no-one but staff and students are allowed on campus. In our case the space used for elections in or right next to the space used for small group testing. Kids in small groups have some type of behavioral or learning problem. So we couldn’t accomendate them on that date even without the security rule.

    Well there is this election judge from hell that showed up yelled at people called us unpatriotic. That we should just do the testing another day. So finally a person in the front office handed him a piece of paper and told him to write his congress person for repeal of NCLB. Something finally clicked and he realized we don’t set the dates for the Test – the state does.

    Come to think of it – I’m pretty sure that was the year we had to evacuate the school in the rain during the TAKS test because of some equipment overheated and set off the fire alarm. Fun was had by all.

    PSA – Write your elected officials and demand a repeal of NCLB.

  5. Emily January 5, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    Lenore–Great take-off on “Strangers In The Night.” I think it’d work really well as a Free-Range music video of sorts. That would probably get more people’s attention than just the written lyrics.

    Kimberley Herbert–I was thinking the same thing, about moving the polling stations out of schools for logistical reasons more than safety reasons (i.e., where are the kids going to have gym class/drama class/lunch, if it’s a “gymacafetorium” type set-up?) So, that makes perfect sense that your school wouldn’t want to have people coming in and voting on a day that students are writing a major test, just because you’d want to keep things as normal as possible at school to minimize distractions. However, about the “test security” rule, of having only students and staff on campus on the day of the TAKS test, what happens if a student gets sick or injured, or has an appointment to go to in the middle of the day, and has to be picked up early by a parent or older sibling? What if someone comes in off the street to ask for directions, or maybe put up a poster for day care or music lessons in their home? How does the school deal with life continuing to unfold, in all its unpredictable glory, while maintaining “test security” on TAKS day?

  6. anonymous this time January 5, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

    Somewhere Tom Lehrer is smiling!

  7. Becky January 5, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    Given Glen Ridge’s notorious history, I’d be more afraid of their high school’s athletes than the voters…..

  8. pentamom January 5, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

    Love it.

  9. Papilio January 5, 2014 at 6:33 pm #

    I just listened while reading your text, it indeed fits very well 😀

    Now I feel like singing.

  10. JP Merzetti January 5, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

    Ok – as a songwriter myself, your lyric, Lenore – is absolutely impeccable.
    It takes a lot to laugh (it takes a train to cry) but a few assorted giggles escaped my sourpuss on this one.
    Bravo, I say!
    (and the pic of Old Blue Eyes himself, was a rather nice touch.)
    Made my day………………………

  11. ChicagoDad January 5, 2014 at 11:15 pm #

    And the only reason I’m Singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a situation like that there’s only one thing you can do and that’s walk into The principal’s office wherever you are ,just walk in say “Principal, Strangers in the School.”. And walk out. You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and They won’t take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony,
    They may think they’re both gay and they won’t take either of them. And three people do it, three people, can you imagine, three people walking in Singin a bar of ‘Strangers in the school’ and walking out. They may think it’s an Organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said Fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Strangers in the School and Walking out. And friends they may thinks it’s a movement.

    And that’s what it is, the Strangers in the School Anti-Massacre Movement, and All you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come’s around on the Guitar.

  12. Earth.W January 6, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    Are schools in during the process of voting?

    In Australia we use schools as polling booths but on Saturdays.

  13. BL January 6, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    @Kimberley Herbert
    “Something finally clicked and he realized we don’t set the dates for the Test – the state does.”

    Hmmm. Since you said this was a primary election, that too would be set by the state (not true for a general election, which is nationwide in November). Sounds like the state should get its act together and pick one if they can’t vote and test the same day.

  14. BL January 6, 2014 at 9:40 am #

    @Earth W
    “In Australia we use schools as polling booths but on Saturdays.”

    In the US we vote in November. Voting on Saturday would effectively disenfranchise all football fans.

  15. Donna January 6, 2014 at 10:12 am #

    “Are schools in during the process of voting?”

    We vote on Tuesday in the US. National elections are the 1st Tuesday in November. Primary elections vary by state as to actual date but are on some Tuesday.

    Some schools make Election Day a holiday (or teacher workday) and some don’t. School closures date back at least to the 50s. My mother didn’t go to school on election day in the 50s nor did I in the 70s. My current local school district has never closed schools on election day to my knowledge. There seems to be regional trends as to whether schools close or not.

  16. Kay January 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    I would love to send this to our district, who is doing shooter training this month with teachers, the kids have a day off for it.

    And this year they have instituted background checks for all volunteers. Can’t be too careful when it comes to our children.

  17. In the Trenches January 6, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

    You realise, of course, that this is all I will be humming for the next week. Thanks a lot 😉

  18. Papilio January 10, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

    @In the trenches: Consider yourself lucky. I just caught myself humming the karaoke version…

  19. Papilio January 12, 2014 at 6:36 pm #


    Did it work?