A school in Wisconsin doesn't want its students living in "Rainbowland," apparently.
Administrators at a Wisconsin elementary school have banned a first-grade class from performing the song, which hails from Dolly Parton and goddaughter Miley Cyrus, at a forthcoming concert because its lyrics "could be deemed controversial" according to a school board policy.
The matter first received national attention last week, when Melissa Tempel, a dual language teacher at Heyer Elementary, called out the School District of Waukesha County on Twitter, tagging Parton and Cyrus in the process. (Neither of the singers' reps immediately returned EW's request for comment.)
"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?" she wrote, next to a picture of some of the 2017 collab's lyrics, which include: "Living in a Rainbowland / The skies are blue and things are grand / 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," the song continues. "Make wrong things right / And end the fight / 'Cause I promise ain't nobody gonna win (come on)."
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
According to a report by the Associated Press, parents in the district claim the song was banned because it "encourages LGBTQ acceptance and references rainbows." In a statement, the district explained, it was "determined that the song could be deemed controversial in accordance with [Board Policy 2240 - Controversial Issues in the Classroom]."
That policy says that a "controversial issue" is any topic "on which opposing points of view have been promulgated by responsible opinion; which may be the subject of intense public argument, disagreement or disapproval; which may have political, social or personal impacts on students and/or the community; and which is likely to arouse both support and opposition in the community."
Instead of "Rainbowland," the students will perform "Rainbow Connection" by Kermit the Frog at the concert, which features a theme of "The World" and includes other songs such as "Here Comes the Sun," by The Beatles and "What a Wonderful World," by Louis Armstrong.
Tempel told the AP on Monday that she chose the original song because of its universal message. "My students were just devastated. They really liked this song and we had already begun singing it," she said.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Dolly Parton (L) and Miley Cyrus
Tempel told the outlet that parents have been upset by the removal, a sentiment which she continues to share on her Twitter, expressing concern for what bans like these mean for the LGBTQ+ community.
"'Oh, I'd be lying if I said this was fine All the hurt and the hate going on here' — The Rainbowland story is about much more than a banned song," she wrote on Tuesday. "The result of the political pushback on LGBTQ+ inclusivity and rights in schools is unfolding and it's tragic."
For their part, Parton and Cyrus have yet to weigh in on the matter.