A Wisconsin elementary school is buzzing in the news after nixing kids’ performance of Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton’s duet “Rainbowland” from its spring concert after an official considered the song unsuitable for school.
Heyer Elementary School in Waukesha garnered criticism when first-grade children who had prepared and practised the song to sing as part of a setlist at a forthcoming performance were dismayed to learn that it had been deleted.
One parent’s daughter returned home delighted to show her mother all of the songs she and her classmates had prepared to sing at the event, and “Rainbowland” was one of them.
‘We adore Dolly Parton!’ parent Sarah Schindler told, adding that she and her daughter were overjoyed that the song had reached the list.
Her daughter subsequently returned home with even more bad news: not only had “Rainbowland” been dropped from the repertory, but so had Kermit the Frog’s “Rainbow Connection,” a song popularised by “The Muppet Movie.”
Schindler was curious to know why.
Superintendent Jim Sebert told multiple outlets that the song could be considered controversial, and others, including Schindler, claimed that the local school board’s “conservative flip” resulted in policies that sought to eliminate rainbow imagery that evoked thoughts of LGBTQ+ themes, and the songs were removed from the setlist as a result of the change.
Parton and Cyrus have both said that the song’s inspiration and meaning are different, based in coming together and being more welcoming and nice to others.
It’s about all these various ethnicities, genders, and faiths coming together to build something and saying, ‘Hey, we’re different, that’s fantastic, let’s not change to be the same, but let’s join together nonetheless.’ Since a rainbow isn’t a rainbow until it has all the distinct hues, at the time the song was released in 2017, Cyrus said.
Cyrus also owns “Rainbow Land,” a rainbow recording facility in Malibu.
Parton, Cyrus’ godmother, told that the song is about being nicer to others, saying, it’s really about if one could love one another a little better or be a little kinder, be a little sweeter, one could live in rainbow paradise. It’s really simply a matter of hoping and dreaming that one can all do better. It’s a fantastic song for these times.
According to a tweet from local educator Melissa Tempel, “Rainbow Connection” was added back to the repertoire after parental complaints.
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