Wisconsin school bans Miley, Dolly duet from class concert
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Report for America
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Administrators at a Wisconsin elementary school stopped a first-grade class from performing 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 struck the song from the lineup last week. Parents in the district say the decision was made because the song encourages LGBTQ acceptance and references rainbows.
Superintendent James Sebert, who did not immediately return a call on Monday, confirmed to Fox6 that administrators had removed “Rainbowland” from the first-grade concert because it might 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 has previously prohibited rainbows and pride flags from being displayed in Waukesha classrooms and suspended the school district’s equity and diversity work in 2021.
“Let’s all dig down deep inside, brush the judgment and fear aside,” the song from Cyrus’ 2017 album “Younger Now” goes. “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.”
First-grade teacher Melissa Tempel said she chose the song because its message seemed universal and sweet. The class concert’s theme was “The World” and included other songs such as “Here Comes the Sun,” by The Beatles and “What a Wonderful World,” by Louis Armstrong.
Administrators also initially banned the song “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppets but later reversed that decision, according to Tempel.