A Wisconsin school recently removed multiple songs from its annual spring concert, including “Rainbowland” by Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton. Teacher Melissa Tempel voiced her complaints with the song’s removal and has now been put on administrative leave.
“Rainbowland” is the third track in Miley’s Younger Now album; it was written by Miley and features a duet between her and her godmother Parton. In Waukesha, Wisconsin, Heyer Elementary removed “Rainbowland” and other songs from its spring concert because they “could be deemed controversial.” Tempel took to Twitter to vent her frustrations, which has now led to the new development of her temporary leave.
Teacher Melissa Tempel has been put on administrative leave for protesting the removal of “Rainbowland”
— Maestra Melissa (@melissatempel) April 25, 2015
Tempel, who teaches first grade at Heyer Elementary, confirmed to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Thursday that she had been put on administrative leave. On Saturday, Insider reached out for further comment. Tempel did not direct respond to that request but had previously told Insider she felt compelled to speak up because she “can’t not say anything anymore.”
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“And if I have to lose my job,” she continued, “then at least I’ll be able to sleep at night knowing that I stuck up for kids.” Superintendent James Sebert further confirmed news of Tempel’s leave with the Journal-Sentinel, but did not respond to Insider‘s request for comment. He called it a “personal matter” that is “confidential in nature.”
Why Melissa Tempel spoke up
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
This year, Heyer Elementary’s spring concert was to have the theme of world unity and peace, as decided by Tempel and her fellow colleagues, reports CNN. The students were given a setlist that includes “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles, a Spanish version of “It’s a Small World,” and “Rainbowland,” as sung by Miley and Parton.
However, Kermit the Frog’s rendition of “Rainbow Connection” is replacing “Rainbowland.” Higher-ups worried that the mention of “rainbow” in Miley’s song would evoke thoughts of the LGBTQ community that would, in turn, draw criticism by the district’s more conservative leanings. In the past, Miley has explained that the song was a celebration of the idea of people from different backgrounds coming together, like all the world’s colors, making a rainbow.