Amanda Gorman, the country’s first-ever recipient of the National Youth Poet Laureate, spoke out Tuesday against what she called a book ban after access to the poem she recited at President Joe Biden’s inauguration was blocked at a school in… Florida was restricted.
Miami-Dade County public schools have relocated “The Hill We Climb” into the middle school section of the library after a parent filed a formal objection to the work, according to documents obtained and made available to the media by the Florida Freedom to Read Project. The Miami Herald first reported the story.
“Unnecessary #bookbans like this are on the rise and we need to fight it,” Gorman said in a post Facebook That included a one-page statement saying her book had been banned from an elementary school.
In a statement, the district said no literature had been banned or removed.
“The school determined that ‘The Hill We Climb’ was more suitable for middle school students and it was posted in the middle school area of the media center. “The book will remain available in the media center,” the statement said.
A review of five titles available at the Bob Graham Education Center library in Miami Lakes was sparked after a parent of two students filled out forms requesting that the titles be removed “from the entire area,” according to documents obtained by the Freedom to Read Project, a group founded by public school parents dedicated to combating so-called book bans in the state.
Review by a committee composed of several educators and others associated with the school resulted in The Hill We Climb being moved to the middle school section of the school library, officially called the Media Center, dubbed the Miami-Dade District.
According to the documents, the committee also decided that at least two other titles it reviewed should be moved to the middle school’s shelves.
The documents were obtained after the Freedom to Read Project filed a request for public records in February and include the parents’ challenge as well as written conclusions from the review board, said the group’s Raegan Miller.
Miller opposed the school’s restriction because she felt children who pursue knowledge in their free time and might not be able to easily buy books should be encouraged.
“This isn’t a classroom lesson,” she said. “These are kids who are looking for more information.”
The Miami Herald reported that challenges with access to books in Florida school libraries have increased since Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a series of education-related bills, including what critics dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the K-3 Education relating to gender identity and sexual orientation.
The DeSantis office did not respond to a request for comment.
Last week, Gorman’s publisher, Penguin Random House, along with nonprofit organization PEN America, filed a lawsuit challenging what the organization called “unconstitutional book bans” in Florida’s Escambia County School District.
In Miami-Dade County, the parent company that requested a title review told the Miami Herald that it was not in favor of “eliminating or censoring” books and said it wanted students to know “the truth” about Experience Cuba.
The parent did not respond to a voicemail left by NBC News asking for comment.
According to the documents, the appeal documents for Cuban Kids and Countries in the News Cuba referred to “indoctrination”.
In the documentation for “The ABCs of Black History,” the parent wrote that according to the documents, they contained CRT — the acronym for Critical Race Theory — and “Gender Ideology.”
The title was tailored for elementary school reading, but the committee recommended moving it to middle school shelves because of its vocabulary and subject matter, the documents say.
In the form for The Hill I Climb, the parents wrote that it was “non-educational” and contained indirect “hate messages.” The committee concluded that Gorman’s book has educational value, according to the documents, but it was postponed because his vocabulary “should be of value to middle school students.”
in one tweet Released later Tuesday, Gorman said a ban is “any measure taken against a book that restricts or reduces access to a book.” The decision to postpone her book after a parent’s complaint “restricts the access elementary school students previously had to my poem,” Gorman said.