- A Wisconsin school district said no to 1st-graders singing a song about acceptance at their spring concert.
- School administrators in Wisconsin found the song to be too controversial, The Los Angeles Times reported.
- Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton’s “Rainbowland” is the song at the center of the controversy.
Students in a first-grade class in Wisconsin were excited to sing a song about coming together and loving each other by Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus, but school administrators said the song was too controversial.
Preparing for their spring concert, a class of students at Heyer Elementary School in Waukesha, Wisconsin — about 20 miles west of Milwaukee — was planning on singing “Rainbowland,” a song by Cyrus and Parton about acceptance and love, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Sarah Schindler, a school parent, told the Times her daughter was excited about the song, which she had never heard before.
“We love Dolly Parton!” Schindler told the Times.
However, administrators quashed the song.
“We can’t sing it anymore,'” Schindler’s daughter told her when she came home from school one day, according to the Times.
Schindler told the Times she reached out to her daughter’s teacher, Heyer Elementary’s principal, and the superintendent of the School District of Waukesha to ask about why the songs were removed, and she was informed that the songs were removed after they were deemed too controversial.
—Maestra Melissa (@melissatempel) March 21, 2023
“Rainbowland” includes the lyrics: “Living in a Rainbowland, The skies are blue and things are grand, Wouldn’t it be nice to live in paradise, Where we’re free to be exactly who we are, Let’s all dig down deep inside, Brush the judgment and fear aside, Make wrong things right, And end the fight, ‘Cause I promise ain’t nobody gonna win.”
In a statement provided to Insider by school district superintendent James Sebert, he said the teacher who suggested the song Rainbowland checked with the school principal “to determine if the song would be acceptable to use in a first grade concert.” When the principal reviewed the song alongside a district policy about “Controversial Issues in the Classroom,” they “determined that the song could be deemed controversial in accordance with the policy,” the statement said.
At that point, according to the statement, the song “Rainbow Connection” was selected.
Representatives for Parton and Cyrus could not be reached or did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on Saturday.
Melissa Tempel, who teaches Schindler’s daughter’s class, posted on Twitter about the administration reversing course on the songs. She did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
“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?” Tempel tweeted earlier this month.
In a later tweet, Tempel said that “Rainbow Connection” had been reinstated “after parents sent emails to admin.”
Schindler told the Times that the school board had a “conservative flip” in recent years and has since instituted “some policy changes that have been causing some controversy in our community.”
“One of those is a controversial topics policy saying that teachers can’t have any kind of signage that could be deemed political,” Schindler told the Times. “Discussion of pronouns with students was another thing that came up. And teachers aren’t allowed to wear rainbows.”
The school district started spring break on March 25, according to its website.