Wisconsin teacher who criticized decision to ban ‘Rainbowland’ performance fired


A Wisconsin teacher who expressed her frustration after her school district banned her first graders from singing «Rainbowland» was fired Wednesday.

Melissa Tempel tweeted in March that the administration had banned the casting of «Rainbowland,» a duet of Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton that officials deemed controversial under school policy, adding, «When will it end?»

The Waukesha School District Board of Education voted Wednesday to fire Tempel, Milwaukee’s NBC affiliate TMJ reported.

She was placed on administrative leave after the superintendent determined that her disagreement with the decision violated school board policy.

After Wednesday’s vote, Tempel’s attorney said they were disappointed with the decision, but had what it takes for a First Amendment lawsuit.

Tempel told reporters that he would not have done anything differently even if he had known the result. He thanked people for their support and kind messages from him.

«And I really just want to say hello to my students, because I haven’t been able to talk to them since March, and I really miss them,» Tempel said.

Tempel tweeted in March: «My first graders were so excited to sing Rainbowland for our spring concert but our administration banned it. When will it end?» It included lyrics from the 2017 song.

The song includes lyrics about working together and living in harmony: «Because I know if we tried, we could really make a difference in this world» and «Living in a Rainbowland… Where we’re free to be exactly who we are / Let’s all go to go deep within / Let go of judgment and fear.»

The district’s Board of Education has said that when the song was suggested, the principal consulted with the central office about district policies.

«They determined that the song could be considered controversial in accordance with the policy,» the board said. said in a statement in March. The board said it was not involved.

Tempel’s social media post prompted emails and phone calls to the district.

District Superintendent James Sebert called for an investigation. Sebert said he received «hundreds» of phone messages and emails after the post, including those of a threatening nature.

«It was basically all-encompassing,» he testified. «The amount of negative attention that Ms. Tempel brought to the Waukesha school district during that period was overwhelming.»

Tempel had been placed on administrative leave. Sebert said at Wednesday’s meeting that he felt Tempel’s disagreement with the decision «was in direct violation of multiple board policies.»

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