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CENSORSHIP: Florida library stops children from reading Biden inaugural poem

CENSORSHIP: Florida library stops children from reading Biden inaugural poem

CENSORSHIP: Florida library stops children from reading Biden inaugural poem

No one who watched President Biden’s inauguration will ever forget Amanda Gorman, the teen girl who recited the perfect poem at the perfect time.

Entitled The Hills We Climb, Gorman invited the nation to unite, which led a Florida school to remove the poem as violating the ban against “critical race theory.”

The poem is now unavailable in Miami-Dade County libraries for children in grades K-5 because one parent complained, a committee reviewed it, and it was dismissed without specificity.

In March, parent Daily Salinas challenged the poem and three books — The ABCs of Black History, Cuban Kids, and Countries in the News Cuba — as inappropriate for young children.

Salinas claimed the books and the poem included references to critical race theory, “indirect hate messages,” gender ideology, and indoctrination.

According to the Miami Herald, the books and the poem were reviewed by a committee composed of three teachers, a library media specialist, a guidance counselor, and the school’s principal.

The Committee kept only one book and sent the poem and other books to the middle school library.

One of the country’s most celebrated poems is now unavailable to Miami Dade students from K-5th grade.

The parameters used by the Committee seem intentionally vague. According to the Miami Herald:

“The committee did not include examples of what the reviewers considered inappropriate for elementary students but “more appropriate” for middle schoolers. When asked to provide examples, district officials said staff was not involved in the committee review and therefore “cannot speak to the intent, reasoning, or provide examples.”

Salinas has two children at the Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes, where she made the challenge. The committee did not consult the parents of every other child in the district.

For her part, Salinas is unsatisfied with sending the books to the middle school, saying all books should be used “to support the curriculum of the school, and I don’t see how these books support the curriculum.”

The Miami Herald states that an increasing number of books are being removed from Florida’s schools.

It should not surprise anyone that a committee would side with removing books or determining that they are inappropriate for the targeted age group.

There is no punishment for banishing books other than creating a less challenging, less thought-provoking, more artificial education environment.

But there is a serious punishment for any teacher or committee that teaches or allows a non-sanctioned book in a classroom. In Florida, a teacher can be charged with a felony for that.

Every committee has every incentive to err on the side of banning materials.

The banning of books in Florida schools had been essentially a “non-issue” until DeSantis signed the “Stop WOKE” law, which restricts how colleges and universities teach classes on race and gender.

Somehow, one of the country’s newest and yet most beloved poems has been deemed too critical of a society dominated by white people, even though The Hills We Climb was meant to unite all people.

Perhaps the invitation to unite is the problem. DeSantis’s Florida declines the invitation.

“So we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.
We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put
our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to
one another, we seek harm to none and harmony for all.”

From The Hills We Climb, Amanda Gorman.

I can be reached at jasonmiciak@gmail.com and @JasonMiciak

Jason Miciak
Jason Miciak is an associate editor and opinion writer for Occupy Democrats. He's a Canadian-American who grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He is a trained attorney, but for the last five years, he's devoted his time to writing political news and analysis. He enjoys life on the Gulf Coast as a single dad to a 15-year-old daughter. Hobbies include flower pots, cooking, and doing what his daughter tells him they're doing. Sign up to get all of my posts by email right here:

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