Teachers, students and some parents were frustrated after a school in Waukesha, Wisconsin, banned a class of first graders from performing the song “Rainbowland” at a spring event.
The subject came up and generated a wide debate after Professor Melissa Tempel, who organized the event with the class, talk on social networks about the ban. The case, after all, is not isolated. You USA they live a wave of limitations in academic debate and freedom ranging from basic education to university in several places.
In the case of Waukesha students, there’s an added factor: The school district imposed a new policy last year requiring the removal of posters and LGBTQIA+ pride flags of schools, considering them controversial content in the field of education.
Knowing about the measure, Tempel decided to inform the school board about the choice of the song, released in 2017 and written by Miley Cyrus e Dolly Parton. The song’s lyrics talk about the desire to make a difference in the world through the acceptance of diversity —this was precisely the message that Tempel worked with his students.
Then came the denial from the superiors. Questioned by the American newspaper The Washington PostWaukesha School District Superintendent James Sebert said in a letter that the decision was made because the song could be a point of intense public discussion and disapproval from some family members.
Tempel, in turn, reported that the idea of \u200b\u200binterpreting “Rainbowland” was to describe the utopia of a world in which everyone is free to be exactly what they are. “There was no reason for us to think the song wouldn’t be allowed,” he said. “I mean, it’s a Dolly Parton song! And we love Dolly.”
Some parents in the class of 24 students came forward saying that the song represents hope, not a political agenda. Students would also perform other songs such as “Es Un Mundo Pequeño” (Spanish version of “It’s a Small World”) and “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles.
In recent years, several US states and cities, mostly led by Republican Party politicians, approved measures to limit debates about race, gender and sexuality in the classroomon the grounds that the discussions were aimed at indoctrinating the students.
The movement was boosted in the period of Donald Trump in the White House (2017-2021) and, even after the Republican left office, remained a consolidated phenomenon that worries teachers and specialists in the field of education.
Today, one of the strongest advocates of limiting academic freedom is the governor of Florida, the also republican Ron DeSantis. In a recent speech to mark his goals for a second term—he was re-elected in the last midtermslast November—, signaled that it will raise the so-called “culture wars” as a priority.
DeSantis is also one of the main names of the Republican Party quoted to run for the White House in 2024.
If you want some motivation, then here is your way: Frases Positivas