“The School District of Waukesha has really cracked down on anything LBGTQ, so this song being an ‘issue’ has not in any way come as a surprise."
Rainbowland, a song by Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus that celebrates acceptance, was recently banned from a concert set list at a Wisconsin primary school after being deemed controversial.
According to the Los Angeles Times, one parent said that the school board had “a conservative flip” in recent years following community uproar over COVID-19 mitigation strategies.
“With that have come some policy changes that have been causing some controversy in our community,” said parent, Sarah Schindler. “One of those is a controversial topics policy saying that teachers can’t have any kind of signage that could be deemed political. ... Discussion of pronouns with students was another thing that came up. And teachers aren’t allowed to wear rainbows.”
“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.
Another Waukesha resident, Leigh Radichel Tracy, added, “The School District of Waukesha has really cracked down on anything LBGTQ, so this song being an ‘issue’ has not in any way come as a surprise.
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“My daughter is 17 and has been in the marching band community for four years. It’s a very welcoming community for kids that are LBGTQ. She has a lot of friends that identify as part of that community, so it hurts her deeply,” she continued. “All that Miley and Dolly are saying is that they want to live in a world that is accepting, with no judgment and where people can be who they want to be.
“It’s so sad that this is seen as a ‘controversial issue’ by the School District of Waukesha. It’s a song about a beautiful place of acceptance.”
Rainbowland was to be performed along with Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World and Kermit the Frog's Rainbow Connection from The Muppet Movie.
Rainbow Connection was also removed but later reinstated in the set list after parents complained to administrators. At the time of publication, Rainbowland remains banned.
The 2017 Parton-Cyrus collaboration features lyrics like: “Wouldn’t it be nice to live in paradise / Where we’re free to be exactly who we are,” and “Let’s all dig down deep inside / Brush the judgment and fear aside.”