A self-described “teacher activist” from Wisconsin set the internet ablaze when she tweeted that her school deemed a Miley Cyrus song too controversial for 1st graders.
Melissa Tempel was helping her 1st grade class put on a show featuring “Rainbowland,” a duet between Cyrus and Dolly Parton. However, the district decided the song wasn’t appropriate for a children’s concert and asked her to pick another.
Tempel took to Twitter to implicitly accuse the district of being anti-LBGT.
Why Rainbowland? My guess:
The beautiful LYRICS. Because saying an ARTIST is controversial would be a very slippery slope and they wouldn’t want to go there. Amirite? @MileyCyrus @DollyParton @waukeshaschools #rainbowland pic.twitter.com/TRtImB8c1R
— Maestra Melissa (@melissatempel) March 26, 2023
Local parent Stacy Keene told The Lion that the Waukesha school district has worked hard to keep political debates out of the classroom and that Tempel has a history of defying the no-politics policy.
“As a parent, that is my concern, that we have teachers who don’t like a policy and then take to Twitter to bring the mob to our community, and they certainly have,” Keene said.
But Waukesha’s “teacher activist” seems to thrive on controversy.
After the school district banned both liberal and conservative political imagery, Tempel showed up for picture day decked out in rainbow-themed accessories.
“The majority of Waukesha does not want that stuff in the classroom,” said Keene.
The mother also explained that the school district was attacked by the “Twitter mob” after reversing a pandemic-era policy for universal free lunches.
“[There were] death threats to our board members,” Keene recalled. “They had to get security to go to board meetings to discuss it. It was really scary here in Waukesha.”
Keene described the most recent controversy surrounding the song as “orchestrated.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if she [Tempel] knew it would get turned down and then she could tweet about it.”
Alexandra Schweitzer, volunteer president of No Left Turn in Education-Wisconsin, tweeted about the issue, saying it was about parental rights.
What’s on the ballot?
— Alexandra Schweitzer (@schweitzerNLTE) March 26, 2023
The tweet was accompanied by a collage of screenshots from Tempel’s social media accounts revealing the teacher’s outspoken support for far-left values.
Earlier this year, the Waukesha school board took a stand for parents’ rights, voting that school staff can’t refer to students by pronouns incongruous with their biological sex unless the parents give their written permission.
The district later released an additional statement affirming parental rights.
Such actions fly in the face of “teacher activism,” which believes that education must be political, as demonstrated by many of Tempel’s social media posts.
“From my perspective as a parent, it’s not about the song,” said Keene. “It’s about this activist teacher in our schools that needs to leave it out of the schools, and not involve the district in her activism.”