Teacher Says Miley Cyrus/Dolly Parton Duet ‘Rainbowland’ Pulled From Spring Concert at Wisconsin Grade School: ‘No Reason Given’

teacher says miley cyrus/dolly parton duet ‘rainbowland’ pulled from spring concert at wisconsin grade school: ‘no reason given’

Teacher Says Miley Cyrus/Dolly Parton Duet ‘Rainbowland’ Pulled From Spring Concert at Wisconsin Grade School: ‘No Reason Given’

A language teacher at Heyer Elementary School in Waukesha, Wisconsin has called out her school’s administration after saying that they vetoed the inclusion of a pair of rainbow-themed songs in the spring concert. “My first graders were so excited to sing ‘Rainbowland’ for our spring concert but it has been vetoed by our administration. When will it end?,” she tweeted last week along with hashtags for the school system, Dolly Parton, Miley Cyrus, GSafe (which create safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth in Wisconsin schools) and civil rights.


Musicians Who’ve Spoken Out Against Recent Anti-LGBTQ Bills: Hayley Williams, Lizzo, Ariana Grande…


Teacher Melissa Tempel also included the lyrics to “Rainbowland,” the Cyrus/Parton duet about acceptance that appeared on Miley’s 2017 album Younger Now. “Living in Rainbowland/ Where you and I go hand in hand/ Oh, I’d be lying if I said this was fine/ All the hurt and the hate going on here/ We are rainbows, me and you/ Every color, every hue,” they sing on the song. Why was that track about living in harmony together reportedly banned?

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    On March 24, Tempel wrote, “The latest I heard is that the song was banned bc @MileyCyrus is controversial. D’oh, I thought for sure it was @DollyPartonvand her beautiful drag queen followers! Oh well, I can’t stop my students if they still sing ‘Rainbowland.’ It’s a fun, catchy song!” First grade teacher Tempel later said her guess as to why the duet was pulled was because of its “beautiful LYRICS. Because saying an ARTIST is controversial would be a very slippery slope and they wouldn’t want to go there. Amirite?,” she wrote.

    When a commenter asked why the song was pulled from the concert Tempel responded, “no reason given.” A day later, Tempel reported that the administration also banned the Muppet Movie classic “Rainbow Connection,” writing, “so it seems the reason is rainbows.” Tempel provided another update on March 23 when she reported that “Rainbow Connection” had been unbanned after “parents sent emails to admin,” though it seems “Rainbowland” is still off the menu.

    At press time spokespeople for Heyer Elementary and the Waukesha Country board of Education had not returned Billboard‘s request for comment on the reported song bans. At press time it also did not appear as if Parton or Cyrus had responded to the reported “Rainbowland” ban on their socials.

    In a statement to People, the Alliance for Education’s Becky Gilligan said that their organization, “continues to advocate for our community… This is the most recent decision by a school district administration intent on stifling the diversity and denying equality to the community it serves, further ostracizing Waukesha in the eyes of the nation.”

    The mother of a first-grader at the school, Sarah Schindler, told the Los Angeles Times that her daughter came home last week with a list of songs she was going to perform at the spring concert. Among the tracks Schindler pulled up on YouTube were “Rainbowland,” Kermit the Frog’s “Rainbow Connection” and Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” Schindler said both she and her daughter were very excited because they love Parton.

    Then a few days later, her daughter came home and told Schindler, “we can’t sing it anymore. We can’t sing ‘Rainbow Connection’ and we can’t sing ‘Rainbowland.’” Schindler said she reached out to Tempel, her daughter’s teacher, and the school’s principal as well as the district superintendent for answers and was told that the administration had pulled the songs because they were too “controversial.”

    Schindler told the Times that the school board had undergone a “conservative flip” recently in the wake of COVID-19 mitigation strategies during the global pandemic that has has killed more than 1.2 million Americans to date. “One of those is a controversial topics 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,” Schindler said.

    Another parent with a student enrolled in the district told the paper that the Waukesha school district has “really cracked down on anything LGBTQ… so this song being an ‘issue’ has not in any way come as a surprise… My daughter is 17 and has been in the marching band community for four years. It’s a very welcoming community for kids that are LBGTQ. She has a lot of friends that identify as part of that community so it hurts her deeply. All that Miley and Dolly are saying is that they want to live in a world that is accepting, with no judgment and where people can be who they want to be.”

    See Tempel’s tweets below.

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