NATIONAL NEWS

Wisconsin school bans Miley, Dolly duet from class concert

Mar 27, 2023, 10:29 AM

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Administrators at a Wisconsin elementary school stopped a first-grade class from performing a Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton duet promoting LGBTQ acceptance because the song “could be perceived as controversial.”

Students at Heyer Elementary School in Waukesha had prepared a rendition of “Rainbowland” for their spring concert, but school officials struck the song from the lineup last week. Parents in the district say the decision was made because the song encourages LGBTQ acceptance and references rainbows.

Superintendent James Sebert, who did not immediately return a call on Monday, confirmed to Fox6 that administrators had removed “Rainbowland” from the first-grade concert because it might not be “appropriate for the age and maturity level of the students.” He also cited a school board policy against raising controversial issues in classrooms.

Sebert has previously prohibited rainbows and pride flags from being displayed in Waukesha classrooms and suspended the school district’s equity and diversity work in 2021.

“Let’s all dig down deep inside, brush the judgment and fear aside,” the song from Cyrus’ 2017 album “Younger Now” goes. “Living in a Rainbowland, where you and I go hand in hand. Oh, I’d be lying if I said this was fine, all the hurt and the hate going on here.”

First-grade teacher Melissa Tempel said she chose the song because its message seemed universal and sweet. The class concert’s theme was “The World” and included other songs such as “Here Comes the Sun,” by The Beatles and “What a Wonderful World,” by Louis Armstrong.

“My students were just devastated. They really liked this song and we had already begun singing it,” Tempel said Monday.

Administrators also initially banned the song “Rainbow Connection” from The Muppets but later reversed that decision, according to Tempel.

Parents have been angered by the song’s removal, Tempel said. But she was more concerned about what the ban and other district policies against expressing LGBTQ support meant for students.

“These confusing messages about rainbows are ultimately creating a culture that seems unsafe towards queer people,” she said.

Spokespersons for Parton and Cyrus did not immediately respond to emails on Monday asking the artists’ thoughts on the ban.

Wisconsin school boards races, including in Waukesha, have become increasingly partisan in recent years. Republicans rules about transgender kids to COVID-19 restrictions.

___

Harm Venhuizen is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Venhuizen on Twitter.

National News

Associated Press

AP-NORC poll: About half of US adults approve of Trump’s conviction, but views of him remain stable

NEW YORK (AP) — About half of U.S. adults approve of Donald Trump’s recent felony conviction, according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The survey shows some potential vulnerabilities, along with some signs of resilience in his support, as Trump tries to become the first American with a felony […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Judge faces inquiry after Illinois attorney was kicked out of court and handcuffed to chair

CHICAGO (AP) — Cook County’s top judge has asked state regulators to review allegations that an attorney was handcuffed to a chair after a judge kicked him out of her courtroom. Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans referred misconduct allegations against Judge Kathy Flanagan to the state Judicial Inquiry Board on Friday, the Chicago Sun-Times […]

2 hours ago

jerry west...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, a three-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

2 hours ago

Associated Press

One of several South Dakota baseball players charged in rape case pleads guilty to lesser felony

MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) — One of the several former players on an American Legion baseball team in South Dakota charged last year with rape has pleaded guilty to a lesser felony. The 19-year-old former Mitchell player pleaded guilty to one count of accessory to a felony, according to court documents cited by KELO-TV on Tuesday. […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Biden and Zelenskyy will sign security agreement between US and Ukraine when they meet at G7

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (AP) — President Joe Biden and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will sign a bilateral security agreement between the U.S. and Ukraine on Thursday when they meet on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit in Italy, aiming to send a signal to Russia of American resolve to supporting Kyiv, the White […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Alabama seeks more nitrogen executions, despite concern over the method

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama is seeking to carry out another nitrogen gas execution, months after the state became the first to put a person to death with the previously untested method. The attorney general’s office on Monday asked the Alabama Supreme Court to authorize an execution date for Carey Dale Grayson, who was convicted […]

15 hours ago

Wisconsin school bans Miley, Dolly duet from class concert