A Miley Cyrus-founded nonprofit reminded first grade students in Wisconsin to “keep being” themselves after their school district barred them from singing the Cyrus and Dolly Parton duet “Rainbowland” at a spring concert.
Happy Hippie Foundation, which aims to support young people who are homeless along with LGBTQ+ youth, shared the comments after administrators at the School District of Waukesha determined that the LGBTQ-inclusive song “could be deemed controversial” for the concert under a district policy.
The song, which was reportedly liked by students, was later replaced by the Jim Henson/Kermit the Frog song “Rainbow Connection,” the district stated.
Happy Hippie declared in a tweet Wednesday that the artists meant the song’s lyrics before celebrating the students at Heyer Elementary School.
“To the inspiring first grade students at Heyer Elementary, keep being YOU. 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 🌈,” the nonprofit wrote in one tweet.
The nonprofit added that it was making a donation to Pride and Less Prejudice, a group that gives free “LGBTQ age-appropriate” books to classrooms.
Both Parton and Cyrus have showcased their support for the LGBTQ+ community over the years.
Cyrus, who identifies as queer, has been behind a number of songs and backed efforts that support the community while Parton has bashed anti-trans bathroom bans and supported gay marriage as a notable LGBTQ+ ally.
Melissa Tempel, a first grade teacher at Heyer Elementary, criticized the district’s policies in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Tempel told the publication that a Pride flag wasn’t allowed in her classroom, although she was permitted to wear a pin supporting trans people.
“I just want kids in our district to go to school feeling wanted and accepted for who they are,” Tempel said. “Whatever they believe in, I think that all students need to feel accepted and welcome in school. And right now, there is one specific group that’s not being welcomed or accepted. And so that’s why I’m speaking out on behalf of them.”