Wisconsin school bans Miley Cyrus-Dolly Parton duo from class concert: NPR
Matt Sayles/Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
MADISON, Wis. – Administrators at a Wisconsin elementary school blocked a first-grade class from playing a Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton duet promoting LGBTQ acceptance because the song “could be perceived as controversial.”
Students at Heyer Elementary School in Waukesha had prepared a rendition of “Rainbowland” for their spring concert, but school officials pulled the song from the lineup last week. District parents say the decision was made because the song promotes LGBTQ acceptance and references rainbows.
Superintendent James Sebert, who did not immediately call back Monday, confirmed to Fox6 that administrators removed “Rainbowland” from the freshman concert because it may not be “appropriate for the age and maturity level of the students. “. He also cited a school board policy against raising controversial issues in classrooms.
Sebert previously banned the display of rainbows and pride flags in Waukesha classrooms and suspended the school district’s equity and diversity work in 2021.
“Let’s all dig deep inside, cast aside judgment and fear,” says the song from Cyrus’ 2017 album “Younger Now.” , I’d be lying if I said it’s okay, all the pain and hate that’s going on here.”
First grade teacher Melissa Tempel said she chose the song because its message felt universal and sweet. The theme for the class concert was “The World” and included other songs such as “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles and “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.
“My students were just devastated. They really liked that song and we had already started singing it,” Tempel said Monday.
Administrators also initially banned the Muppets’ song “Rainbow Connection,” but later reversed that decision, according to Tempel.
Parents were angered by the song’s deletion, Tempel said. But she was more concerned about what the ban and other district policies against expressing LGBTQ support meant for students.
“These confusing rainbow messages ultimately create a culture that feels dangerous for gay people,” she said.
Spokespersons for Parton and Cyrus did not immediately respond to emails on Monday seeking the artists’ opinion on the ban.
Wisconsin school board races, including Waukesha, have become increasingly partisan in recent years. Republicans have seen big gains in school board races across the state in 2022 and have used the positions to challenge policies ranging from rules on transgender children to COVID-19 restrictions.