At Heyer Elementary School, Sarah Schindler’s first-grade daughter was looking forward to singing “Rainbowland” by Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus. She had never heard of the song before, but she liked the message and harmony.
A few days ago, the school district vetoed the song along with Kermit the Frog’s famous song “Rainbow Connection”, saying it was too controversial.
“It’s a shame our kids can’t sing a song about love and acceptance,” Melissa Tempel the teacher who had chosen the song. “It’s not political, it’s human.”
This decision sparked outrage among some parents and teachers who saw it as a form of censorship and discrimination. They mentioned the songs were appropriate for young children and aligned with the district’s mission of fostering diversity and inclusion.
The school district ended up citing a policy on issues in the classroom as the reason for banning the songs. The policy states that teachers shouldn’t “advocate their personal beliefs or opinions regarding controversial issues in the course of their professional duties.”
“We have to be mindful of the fact that not everybody has the same beliefs or values, and we have to be respectful of that,” James Sebert mentioned, the superintendent of the School District of Waukesha.
Rainbowland is a duet that Dolly Parton and her goddaughter Miley Cyrus made together. The song was released in 2017 as part of Cyrus’s “Younger Now” album. It features a message from Parton in the beginning. “Rainbowland is a place I dreamed of as a child. It’s where I wanted to live. It’s still where I want to live. It’s where everybody is accepted and can be themselves.”
Some parents and teachers have launched an online petition to reinstate the songs for the spring concert. They hope the school board will reconsider its decision and allow students to express themselves through music.
-The duet was also banned at Wisconsin elementary schools-
First graders at Wisconsin elementary also wanted to perform the song for their spring concert but the school officials deemed.
“When will it end?” Melissa Tempel wrote on Twitter after the Waukesha, Wisconsin school board banned rainbow-themed songs from an upcoming concert.
Students in the class were excited to sing the song but have been banned from a set list at the school.