A K-8 school located in the Miami area has implemented a ban on three books and a poem, targeting elementary-aged students. Among the prohibited materials is Amanda Gorman’s renowned poem, “The Hill We Climb,” which she famously recited during President Joe Biden’s 2021 inauguration.
The ban was prompted by a complaint from a single parent at the Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes. The parent objected to five books with race-related themes, which included “The ABCs of Black History,” “Cuban Kids,” “Countries in the News: Cuba,” “Love to Langston,” and Amanda Gorman’s poem, “The Hill We Climb.”
After a thorough review conducted by a school-materials committee, it was concluded that only one book, “Countries in the News: Cuba,” was deemed “balanced and age-appropriate” and would continue to be accessible to students. The remaining materials were considered more suitable for middle school students, resulting in their relocation to the middle school section of the library.
The ban was initiated by a parent named Daily Salinas, who expressed concerns about references to critical race theory, perceived “indirect hate messages,” and the promotion of gender ideology and indoctrination. Records pertaining to this matter were obtained by the Florida Freedom to Read Project and shared with the Miami Herald.
Salinas, however, told the Herald on Monday that she’s “not for eliminating or censoring any books,” but instead wants appropriate materials that teach students “the truth.”
She added that she’s not sure why the banned books remain available for middle schoolers, saying school libraries are meant “to support the curriculum of the school and I don’t see how these books support the curriculum.”
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Gorman, a graduate of Harvard University, was just 22 years old when she read her poem on the national stage, touching on themes of unity and hope.
“Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: That even as we grieved, we grew: That even as we hurt, we hoped, that even as we tired, we tried, that we’ll forever be tied together, victorious,” reads one section of the poem.
Following her acclaimed performance, Amanda Gorman went on to become the first-ever national youth poet laureate of the United States. Additionally, she holds the distinction of being the youngest poet to recite at a presidential inauguration.
In 2022, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” which imposes restrictions on LGBTQ discussions in K-12 classrooms across the state. As a result, numerous schools have taken steps to remove specific books from their libraries.
Despite Governor DeSantis dismissing book bans as a “hoax” in recent statements, advocacy group PEN America asserts that over 170 books have been eliminated from school libraries in various parts of Florida over the past few months.