A Wisconsin school doesn’t want its students living in a world where everyone is celebrated for being themselves.
A group of first graders at Heyer Elementary school in Wisconsin were set to sing the Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton song “Rainbowland” at an upcoming school concert, however, when a music teacher asked Principal Mark Schneider for approval, he and a central office administrator decided the song “could be deemed controversial” and rejected the song for the elementary schoolers.
While Waukesha school district Superintendent James Sebert declined an interview with WPR News in Wisconsin, in a statement he said “the question was around whether the song was appropriate for the age and maturity level of the first-grade students.”
The song doesn’t have anything controversial in it, or mention any LGBTQ+ themes, but is about acceptance and inclusion. “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,” the lyrics read.
Melissa Tempel, a first grade teacher at the school said she wanted to have her students sing the song so that they’d know they are accepted for who they are.
“We’re trying to support inclusivity,” she said. “The love and acceptance piece, and being who you are, I don’t think there’s anything political about that.”
The Waukesha County school board has been especially cruel to trans and queer students. Not only did administrators recently ask teachers to take down any rainbow decor in their classroom and stop wearing rainbow clothes or lanyards, but also approved a resolution encouraging teachers to avoid using a student’s chosen name or pronouns unless they have written approval from their parents.
Miley Cyrus’ Happy Hippie Foundation, a nonprofit that works with youth on social issues, released a statement encouraging the school’s students and announcing a donation to Pride and Less Prejudice, an organization that provides free queer-inclusive books to schools.
“‘We are rainbows, me and you/Every color, every hue/Let's shine on through… TOGETHER WE CAN START LIVING IN A RAINBOWLAND.’ When our founder @mileycyrus and her fairy godmother @dollyparton wrote these words together, they meant it,” the tweet reads.
“To the inspiring first grade students at Heyer Elementary, keep being YOU. We believe in our Happy Hippie heart that you’ll be the ones to brush the judgment and fear aside and make all of us more understanding and accepting.”