A first-grade teacher took to Twitter to express her frustration about an administrative ban on rainbow-themed songs for a first-grade spring concert at Heyer Elementary School in Waukesha County, Wisconsin.
Melissa Tempel, the duo language teacher who made the announcement, stated that her students were very excited to perform Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton’s song “Rainbowland,” which was featured on Cyrus’ 2017 album “Younger Now.”
Despite their enthusiasm, the song was not allowed to be played due to the administration’s decision. Tempel asked when this type of censorship would end.
In her viral tweet, Temple, who goes by the username @melissatemple, wrote, “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 tweet received 760 retweets and more than 1,900 likes since it was published on March 21.
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? @waukeshaschools @DollyParton @MileyCyrus @mileyworld @gsafewi @CivilRights #publicschools pic.twitter.com/8Na0nETmDw— Maestra Melissa (@melissatempel) March 21, 2023
The song, which is about positivity in turbulent times, was deemed “controversial” according to SDW Board Policy 2240. There were questions surrounding the appropriateness of the song for six-to-seven-year-olds and a fear of negative implications on the students. The decision was met with widespread criticism, and the young students who had eagerly been preparing the song were left disappointed.
The rainbow flag is often associated with the LGBT movement as a symbol of Pride and diversity, and Miley Cyrus’ open support for the community suggests that this was likely a factor in their decision.
While there is no mention of the LGBT community in the song itself, the case has opened up further debate on how schools handle LGBTQ topics and students in America, as the nation has become increasingly polarized between conservative and liberal views.
For now, the children are allowed to sing songs such as “Here Comes The Sun” and “It’s a Wonderful World.” The teacher is waiting for an answer why “Rainbowland” is banned and hopes they could potentially sing it in the future. Temple has since been placed on administrative leave.
Social Media Reacts
The tweet received considerable attention as it stirred up heated discussion among the public. Many social media users were quick to respond to the controversy, resulting in a wide range of opinions on the matter. Although some supported the school’s decision, others thought that banning such a song was inappropriate and unnecessary.
“Well, obviously, this is grooming at its peak! How dare a song talk about people being who they are. It could only be left that would promote such horrible morals! The horror of it all!.. Sad. Just sad,” one person with 65 likes commented.
One person with 33 likes retorted. “Why are you trying to shove a gay agenda down the throats of elementary kids? If you tried doing that to one of my kids, I’d be marching myself in front of the school board to get you fired. Good in the school board there in Wisconsin.”
“Thanks for speaking up,” one person praised the teacher. “Is it true a new controversial topics code doesn’t let y’all even wear rainbows? I’d be the teacher daily pairing a red shirt & orange belt, banana earrings, nails painted green, with blue pants and purple shoes.” The reply received 78 likes.
Twitter users expressed their concern. The commenter received 77 likes: “So how much hate exactly is going on in your classroom with those little kids? And don’t gaslight parents. I bet if they check your emails, you’ve been texting them saying how you intend to subtly indoctrinate the children in your class. Other’s kids, not yours. They are not your kids.”
This article School Bans Students From Singing Miley Cyrus’ “Rainbowland” for Vaguely Controversial Reasons was produced by TPR Teaching. Image of Miley Cyrus: Shutterstock // Tinseltown.
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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.