Dolly Parton’s song banned from Elementary School concert

After many songs with a rainbow theme were rejected from her children’s spring concert, a Wisconsin first-grade teacher is speaking out.

The School District of Waukesha County was criticized on Tuesday by Melissa Tempel, a dual language instructor at Heyer Elementary, for its decision to prohibit the songs “Rainbowland” by Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton and “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie.

“My first-graders were ecstatic to perform “Rainbowland” at our spring concert, but our management turned it down. What time will it end?” Tempel posted on Twitter.

According to the school’s Controversial Issues in the Classroom policy, Waukesha Supt. James Sebert and the central office administrator “decided that the song could be judged problematic.”

Any topic “on which opposing points of view have been promulgated by responsible opinion; which may be the subject of intense public argument, disagreement, or disapproval; which may have political, social, or personal impacts on students and/or the community; and which is likely to arouse both support and opposition in the community” is considered controversial according to the policy.

Tempel claimed that the song was taken off the radio because Cyrus, 30, “is contentious,” but she “felt for sure” that Parton’s standing with drag queens and the LGBTQ community had a part in the decision.

“Well well, even if they continue to sing “Rainbowland,” I can’t stop them. It’s a lively, catchy tune!” She composed.

The 2017 collaboration, which is included on Cyrus’ sixth studio album Younger Now, features the lyrics: “Living in a Rainbowland / The skies are blue and everything are grand / Wouldn’t it be lovely to live in paradise / Where we’re free to be exactly who we are.” Tempel also shared the lyrics.

The song continues, “Let’s all dig down deep inside / Brush the judgment and fear aside.” Make the wrong things right and put an end to the conflict because, as I promise, no one will prevail.

Tempel provided an update on Thursday, noting that “Rainbow Connection” had been unbanned as a result of correspondence from parents and the neighborhood Alliance for Education. Without them, she wrote, “I don’t know where I’d be.”

“This is the most recent move by a school district administration intent on suppressing the diversity and denying equity to the community it serves, further ostracizing Waukesha in the eyes of the nation,” Alliance for Education spokesperson Becky Gilligan tells PEOPLE in a statement.

Sebert claims that “Rainbow Connection” has been chosen to perform at the performance in place of “Rainbowland.”

According to Sarah Schindler, whose daughter attends Tempel’s class, the school board underwent a “conservative flip” in recent years as a result of community uproar about COVID-19 rules.

According to Schindler, “with it came some policy changes that have been causing some debate in our community.” “One of them is a contentious policy that prohibits teachers from posting any signage that can be interpreted as political. The subject of pronoun debate with kids also came up. And wearing rainbows is not permitted for instructors.”

The School District of Waukesha explicitly lists “sexual orientation” as one of the protected classes in its nondiscrimination statement, stating that it “does not discriminate in its admissions, programs, activities, services, or employment” on any ground that is against federal law.

Following the passage of H.B. 1557, known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida by Gov. Ron DeSantis in March of last year, numerous other states have passed legislation making it unlawful for teachers to discuss issues of sexual orientation and gender identity with their students.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, as of last month, a record 340 pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation have been proposed across the country for 2023.

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