Hayer Elementary School, located in Waukesha, Wisconsin, was meant to feature Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton’s collaboration “Rainbowland” during a spring concert, but a teacher revealed earlier this week that the song was pulled from the lineup. In an email to Wisconsin Public Radio, Waukesha Superintendent James Sebert stated: “The question was around whether the song was appropriate for the age and maturity level of the first-grade students.”
But the Happy Hippie Foundation, a non-profit founded by Cyrus in support of young people in the LGBTQ+ community and those facing homelessness, knows that the need for self-acceptance has no age.
“To the inspiring first grade students at Heyer Elementary, keep being YOU,” the organization tweeted on Wednesday. “We believe in our Happy Hippie heart that you’ll be the ones to brush the judgment and fear aside and make all of us more understanding and accepting.”
Happy Hippie Foundation will also be making a donation to Pride and Less Prejudice, an organization providing pre-K through 3rd grade classrooms with LGBTQ-inclusive books. “Read out loud, read out proud,” their mantra reads.
On “Rainbowland,” Cyrus and Parton imagine a utopia without the kind of hurt or hate that would find malice in a song about happiness. “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,” they sing. “Brush the judgment and fear aside/Make wrong things right/And end the fight/’Cause I promise ain’t nobody gonna win.”
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Sarah Schindler, a mother of a first-grader at Heyer Elementary, shared that Kermit the Frog’s “Rainbow Connection” from “The Muppet Movie” was also pulled from the concert lineup, swept in with what the school administration had deemed “controversial.” But Kermit was eventually reinstated in the list, while Cyrus and Parton are still on the outs.
“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. And Dolly Parton supports drag queens, and you know, that’s another thing going about in our country these days,” Schindler added. “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.”