‘Rainbowland’ by Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton banned from Wisconsin primary school concert
“When will it end?” wrote first-grade teacher Melissa Tempel on Twitter after the Waukesha, Wisconsin school board banned rainbow-themed songs from an upcoming concert
After many songs with a rainbow theme were rejected from her children’s spring concert, a Wisconsin first-grade teacher is speaking out.
The School District of Waukesha County was criticized on Tuesday by Melissa Tempel, a dual language instructor at Heyer Elementary, for its decision to prohibit the songs “Rainbowland” by Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton and “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie.
“My first-graders were ecstatic to perform “Rainbowland” at our spring concert, but our management turned it down. What time will it end?” Tempel posted on Twitter.
Although Tempel said she was told that the song was banned because Cyrus, 30, “is controversial,” she “thought for sure” the decision had to do with Parton’s popularity with drag queens and the LGBTQ community.
“Oh well, I can’t stop my students if they still sing ‘Rainbowland.’ It’s a fun, catchy song!” she wrote.
According to the school’s Controversial Issues in the Classroom policy, Waukesha Supt. James Sebert and the central office administrator “decided that the song could be judged problematic.”
Any topic “on which opposing points of view have been promulgated by responsible opinion; which may be the subject of intense public argument, disagreement, or disapproval; which may have political, social, or personal impacts on students and/or the community; and which is likely to arouse both support and opposition in the community” is considered controversial according to the policy.
The 2017 collaboration, which is included on Cyrus’ sixth studio album Younger Now, features the lyrics: “Living in a Rainbowland / The skies are blue and everything are grand / Wouldn’t it be lovely to live in paradise / Where we’re free to be exactly who we are.” Tempel also shared the lyrics.
The song continues, “Let’s all delve down deep inside / Push the judgment and fear aside.” Set the wrong things right and put an end to the conflict because, as I guarantee, no one will prevail.
Tempel provided an update on Thursday, noting that “Rainbow Connection” had been unbanned as a result of correspondence from parents and the neighborhood Alliance for Education. Without them, she wrote, “I don’t know where I’d be.”
Sarah Schindler, whose daughter is in Tempel’s class, told the Los Angeles Times that the school board went through a “conservative flip” in recent years due to local outcry over COVID-19 policies.
“With that have come some policy changes that have been causing some controversy in our community,” said Schindler. “One of those is a controversial topic policy saying that teachers can’t have any kind of signage that could be deemed political. … Discussion of pronouns with students was another thing that came up. And teachers aren’t allowed to wear rainbows.”
According to the School District of Waukesha’s nondiscrimination statement, it “does not discriminate in its admissions, programs, activities, services or employment” on any basis prohibited under federal law, explicitly including “sexual orientation” in its list of protected groups.
Following the passage of H.B. 1557, known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida by Gov. Ron DeSantis in March of last year, numerous other states have passed laws making it unlawful for instructors to discuss issues of sexual orientation and gender identity with their children.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, as of last month, a record 340 pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation have been proposed around the country for 2023.