Wisconsin Teacher Who Called Out School’s “Rainbowland” Ban Says She’s Getting Fired
A first grade teacher in Wisconsin has been fired after speaking out against Waukesha Schools’ decision to ban Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton’s “Rainbowland” from a spring concert. Last week, Melissa Tempel told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel she’d been informed by the district’s superintendent that her job had been terminated. She’d originally been placed on leave in April. Tempel’s termination would still require approval from the Waukesha School Board.
“It’s such a fun song and they just immediately took to it,” Tempel said in March. “We just really feel bad because the kids were excited about it. It’s just really confusing… It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”
The decision to ban “Rainbowland,” which appears on Cyrus’ 2017 album Younger Now, is part of a 2021 policy banning the use of Pride, Black Lives Matter, Thin Blue Line, and “any other posters or materials to the such” in classrooms.
Last month, Wisconsin state school superintendent Jill Underly sent a letter to district superintendent James Sebert condemning the policy. “Whether you realize it or not, you are, under the guise of protection, causing undue harm to students and staff. However, this damage is reversible. It is paramount that you change course now,” Underly wrote. “The decisions you have made as district leaders have intensified the stressors our teachers feel and helped create and continue to perpetuate a toxic environment.”
Meanwhile, in March Cyrus’ Happy Hippie foundation responded to the ban in a series of tweets, encouraging the elementary school’s first graders to “keep being YOU.” It also announced it would make a donation to Pride And Less Prejudice, an organization that provides free LGBTQ-inclusive books to classrooms.