Wisconsin elementary school band teacher creates an LGBTQ+ “Rainbow Crew” club to discuss gender identity and sexual orientation


A Wisconsin band teacher in the Shorewood School District s providing a “safe place” for elementary school students to “learn about gender and pronouns,” “review gender identity and expression,” identify different sexual orientations, and celebrate pride. The same teacher also created a “culturally responsive band curriculum, which bans crowd-favorite tunes such as “Jingle Bells” because “its roots are steeped in racism.”

The teacher said she saw “a need for additional support for LGBTQ+ students at the elementary level” that prompted her to start Rainbow Crew, “an affinity group for LGBTQ+ students and allies at both Lake Bluff Elementary School and Atwater Elementary School.” The teacher claims that between the two elementary schools, there are 180 children regularly discussing “various topics related to gender and sexual orientation.” 

The monthly meetings feature discussions on radical gender ideology. Documents obtained from a Rainbow Crew meeting in February contain discussions of gender, adding that gender “can be the same or different as assigned sex at birth.”

As a closing activity, the presentation asked students to “practice introducing yourself to others by stating your pronouns. Ask your partner(s) what their names and pronouns are.”

Rainbow Crew’s March meeting focused on “Gender Inclusive Language,” and encouraged students to “find one less inclusive word or phrase that you currently use [and] pledge to work on using more inclusive language for that particular word.” Examples were saying “person” instead of “man or woman,” “sibling” instead of “brother or sister,” and “spouse” instead of “husband or wife.”

April’s meeting presentation, “Love is Love,” included resources about sexual orientation from the Human Rights Campaign and the Trevor Project, two youth-focused LGBTQ groups notorious for encouraging gender transition without parental consent. The May meeting celebrated Pride Month and students were asked to create pride posters. According to the teacher, students sold the posters at the Lake Bluff Student Market to raise funds for UNICEF.

The teacher designed all of the presentations and meeting topics herself.

Along with educating elementary schoolers on gender ideology, the teacher also created Shorewood School District’s “culturally responsive” and “equitable” fourth grade band curriculum. Part of the curriculum eliminates songs such as “Camptown Races” and “Jingle Bells,” “because their roots are steeped in racism,” the teacher claims. She also adopted “‘Habits of a Successful Beginner Band Musician’ as a resource where all songs are screened for cultural responsiveness.”

The teacher was lauded for her club and band curriculum in Shorewood School District’s “Equity in Action” feature, which was published in July. “The goal of this series is to share with the community more of the important equity work we are doing in our district,” the district said on Facebook.