A Wisconsin elementary school has blocked a first-grade class from performing a Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton duet at their spring concert because it could be “perceived as controversial,” ABC7 reported.
Students at Heyer Elementary School in Waukesha were preparing a rendition of “Rainbowland” for the concert before school officials stepped in. According to parents, the decision was made because the song promotes LGBTQ acceptance and references rainbows.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to live in paradise, where we’re free to be exactly who we are,” read the lyrics to the song. “Living in a 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.”
As ABC7 points out, Waukesha School District superintendent James Sebert has prohibited rainbows and pride flags from being displayed in Waukesha classrooms and suspended the school district’s equity and diversity work in 2021.
First-grade teacher Melissa Tempel said her students were “devastated” when they heard the news. “They really liked this song and we had already begun singing it,” Tempel said, adding that school officials previously banned the song “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppets but later reversed that decision and replaced the Parton/Cyrus duet with the classic Muppets tune — which has nothing to do with LGBTQ acceptance.
Tempel said that school district officials have tried to remove other references to rainbows in schools and pointed out that last year, administrators asked teachers throughout the district to take down rainbow decor and to stop wearing rainbow lanyards or clothing.
“These confusing messages about rainbows are ultimately creating a culture that seems unsafe towards queer people,” she said.