California poet Amanda Gorman’s Biden inauguration poem moved out of Florida elementary school library after a parent complained
By Andy Rose | CNN
“The Hill We Climb,” the poem written by Amanda Gorman for President Joe Biden’s inauguration, was moved out of the elementary section of one Miami-Dade County public school, the district confirmed Tuesday. It remains available to older children.
A parent of a student at Bob Graham Education Center – a kindergarten through eighth grade school in Miami Lakes – objected to the poem, for which they erroneously listed Oprah Winfrey as the author/publisher, documents obtained by the Florida Freedom to Read Project show.
It “is not educational and have (sic) indirectly hate messages,” the complaint said, adding that the poem would “cause confusion and indoctrinate students.”
The same parent made similar complaints about “Love to Langston,” a poetry-based biography of Black poet Langston Hughes; “The ABCs of Black History” and two books about Cuba, complaints obtained by FFTRP show.
A materials-review panel at the school declined to remove the books from the school entirely, but did decide to move the Gorman poem and two other disputed items to the library’s middle school section, which is for grades six through eight, minutes of an April meeting of the committee, also obtained by FFTRP, show.
Gorman, the nation’s first-ever youth poet laureate, criticized the decision, writing on Instagram, “Robbing children of the chance to find their voices in literature is a violation of their right to free thought and free speech.”
In a statement to CNN Tuesday evening, Miami-Dade County Public Schools spokesperson Elmo Lugo said, “No literature (books or poem) has been banned or removed.”
“It was determined at the school that ‘The Hill We Climb’ is better suited for middle school students and, it was shelved in the middle school section of the media center. The book remains available in the media center,” he said.
Lugo did not respond to a request to verify the authenticity of the complaint documents released by the Florida Freedom to Read Project, instead saying the district would process CNN’s inquiry as a formal public records request.
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