Florida school moves Amanda Gorman’s poem “The Hill We Climb” to middle school section after complaint
MIAMI – A book based on a poem written by the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, has caused controversy at one Miami-Dade school.
The book and the poem are titled The Hill We Climb. Gorman famously performed the piece at President Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential inauguration.
A parent of a child who attends Bob Graham Education Center, a K-8 school in Miami Lakes, took issue with the book and filed a complaint which resulted in the book’s removal from elementary level access, according to CBS News Miami partner the Miami Herald.
The complaint alleged that the material is not educational, has indirect hate messages, causes confusion, and indoctrinates students. It also incorrectly stated that Oprah Winfrey is the book’s author.
Gorman slammed the school district, saying the book’s removal could be something that is challenged in court. She added that it robs children of a right to free thought and speech.
“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.”
The Escambia County school district is being sued by Penguin Random House, PEN America, authors, and parents after it removed books discussing race, racism, and LGBTQ+ identities.
The lawsuit claims that the school district violated the First Amendment when it ordered the removal of books against the recommendations of its own experts, with the banned books including “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison, “The Nowhere Girls” by Amy Reed, and “Lucky” by Alice Sebold.
Escambia County, located in the state’s panhandle, is allegedly “depriving students of access to a wide range of viewpoints” and specifically targeting books that “critics view as too ‘woke,'” the lawsuit claims.
“In Escambia County, state censors are spiriting books off shelves in a deliberate attempt to suppress diverse voices,” she said. “In a nation built on free speech, this cannot stand.”
One parent, Lindsay Durtschi, said she joined the lawsuit because she believes banning diverse books creates “irreparable harm to the voices and safety of students in Florida.”
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