Despite the enthusiasm of certain members within its school community, a Wisconsin elementary school decided not to have students perform a Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton collaboration due to concerns regarding the potential controversy.
Before the Waukesha school district administrators stepped in, first-grade students were slated to perform “Rainbowland,” a duet between an iconic pop star and legendary country musician that celebrates acceptance. However, their choice was abruptly vetoed ahead of the spring concert.
Sarah Schindler, the parent of a student at Heyer Elementary School, expressed her befuddlement to CBS 58: “I was very confused,” she said. To make matters worse, her daughter informed her that the song had been taken out entirely.
Superintendent Jim Sebert reported that the school had been approached by two sets of parents inquiring about the 2017 song.
In the wake of these events, Heyer school principal Mark Schneider and another administrator concluded not to permit it at the concert, reported by a local television station.
“It was determined that Rainbowland could be perceived as controversial,” Sebert issued a statement in regard to the school board’s decision. “The main question was is the song appropriate for the age level and maturity of the students.”
Melissa Tempel, a first-grade teacher at the school, was one of many parents and teachers incensed by the decision, as reported in The Los Angeles Times.
“My first graders were so excited to sing Rainbowland for our spring concert but it has been vetoed by our administration,” she wrote on Twitter. “When will it end?”
Some lines of the duet by Cyrus and Parton include “Wouldn’t it be nice to live in paradise / Where we’re free to be exactly who we are” and “Brush the judgment and fear aside / Make wrong things right / And end the fight / ‘Cause I promise ain’t nobody gonna win.”
As reported by the LA Times, Schindler declared that in recent years the school board had experienced a significant “conservative flip,” leading to policy transformations that ignited contention amongst its student body.
“I know, Miley Cyrus kind of has a past, in the spotlight with, you know, talking about drug use, and sexuality, and all of that,” she said. “And Dolly Parton supports drag queens, and you know, that’s another thing going about in our country these days.”
“It feels like, because of these extreme policies that have been put into place by our school board in the past year or two, that administration, principals, and teachers are now starting to second-guess all of their choices,” Schindler continued.
Kermit the Frog’s renowned song “Rainbow Connection” was initially on the chopping block, but parental outcry caused it to be reinstated, according to Tempel in a recent tweet.
Sebert affirmed to a variety of sources that “Rainbow Connection” would be featured in the concert.