On Tuesday, the district acknowledged that a classroom containing a copy of “The Hill We Climb,” a poem written by Amanda Gorman for President Joe Biden’s inauguration, had been relocated from the elementary part of a school in Miami-Dade County. Children aged 13 and up can still access it.
Bob Graham Education Center is a K-8 school in Miami Lakes, and according to papers obtained by the Florida Freedom to Read Project, a parent there protested to a poem because the school had incorrectly credited Oprah Winfrey as the author/publisher.
It “is not educational and have (sic) indirectly hate messages,” the complaint read, claiming the poem would “cause confusion and indoctrinate students.”
The complaints collected by the organization show that the same parent had similar concerns about the poetry-based biography of Black poet Langston Hughes, “Love to Langston,” as well as “The ABCs of Black History” and two books about Cuba.
The school’s materials review committee did not vote to remove the books from the school entirely, but it did vote to relocate the Gorman poem and two other contested items to the middle school section of the library, which serves students in grades six through eight, according to minutes of a committee meeting obtained by the nonprofit in April.
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When the decision was announced, Gorman, the first teenage poet laureate in the country, took to Instagram to express her displeasure, writing, “Robbing children of the chance to find their voices in literature is a violation of their right to free thought and free speech.”
On Wednesday, Mayor of Miami-Dade County Carlos Gimenez invited Gorman to come to town for a reading.
“Your poem inspired our youth to become active participants in their government and to help shape the future. We want you to come to Miami-Dade to do a reading of your poem. If you’re in, we will coordinate,” Daniella Levine Cava wrote on Twitter.
Elmo Lugo, a spokesman for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, told “No literature (books or poem) has been banned or removed.”
“The school has decided that ‘The Hill We Climb’ is more appropriate for sixth through eighth graders, thus it has been relocated to the media center’s middle school section. “The book is still available in the library’s media room,” he added.
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