First Grade Teacher Says Her School District Banned Students From Performing Miley Cyrus’s “Rainbowland”

First Grade Teacher Says Her School District Banned Students From Performing Miley Cyrus’s “Rainbowland”
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From books to songs, school districts have been enforcing bans that restrict the content students can be exposed to. Most recently, a first grade teacher from Waukesha County, Wisconsin, revealed that multiple rainbow-themed songs, including one by Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton, were banned from her students’ spring concert.

According to Waukesha County’s The Freeman, Melissa Tempel, a duo language teacher at Heyer Elementary School, revealed news of the ban on social media. On Tuesday, March 21, Tempel took to Twitter, writing, “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?” The single appeared on Miley’s 2017 studio album Younger Now.

The Freeman reports that Tempel worked with parents and the school’s music teacher to come up with songs for their spring concert and decided to “do a theme about the world.” Tempel said her school’s music teacher discovered “Rainbowland” and thought the students would love the song because it was catchy.

The outlet revealed that two first grade teachers came up with “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie, and they added another song in Spanish called “De Colores,” which is about the colors of the world. “It was a slow song, so we thought we should pick ‘Rainbowland’ because it is faster. So the kids won’t get bored with slower songs,” Tempel explained.

On Tuesday, March 21, Tempel told The Freeman that she received an email sent to the music teacher by the school’s principal informing them that they wouldn’t be able to perform “Rainbowland.” She was told the students couldn’t perform “Rainbow Connection” due to a complaint.

“It was determined that ‘Rainbowland’ could be perceived as controversial according to SDW Board Policy 2240. The teacher was asked to pick a different song for the first grade concert, which ended up being ‘Rainbow Connection’ by Jim Henson. That song is great for first graders and fits in their concert theme as well,” Waukesha County superintendent Jim Sebert said in an email to The Freeman.

In 2021, the Waukesha School District removed signage with flags and posters about Pride, Black Lives Matter, Thin Blue Line, and others from classrooms. According to Sebert, “Policy 2240 has a number of areas that it covers, and remember, these are 6- and 7-year-olds. The main question was is the song appropriate for the age level and maturity of the students.”

As Tempel’s tweets took off on social media, many Twitterers asked questions about the school district’s explanation for banning the song. “They’re still not giving an answer,” the teacher wrote. She later followed up saying that the district claimed Miley Cyrus was too “controversial,” but she thought it had more to do with Dolly Parton’s work as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. “Oh well, I can’t stop my students if they still sing ‘Rainbowland.’ It’s a fun, catchy song,” she added on Twitter.

Despite the ban, The Freeman reports that the students will perform “Here Comes the Sun,” “It’s a Wonderful World,” and “Rainbow Connection.”

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