American poet Amanda Gorman said Tuesday that the poem she recited during President Biden’s inauguration was banned from a Miami-Dade County school.
“I’m sad. Due to a parent’s complaint, my inaugural poem, The Hill We Climb, was banned from elementary schools in Miami-Dade County, Florida,” Gorman said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Gorman noted in his statement that, although not new, book bans have increased in recent years. The American Library Association found that nearly 2,600 titles will be targeted for censorship in 2022, a nearly 40 percent increase from the previous year.
“What’s more, often all it takes to get these works out of our libraries and schools is one objection,” Gorman said.
“And let’s be clear: most of the banned works are by authors who have struggled for generations to get on the bookshelves,” Gorman said. “Most of these censored works are by strange and not insignificant voices.”
Gorman also stated the reason he wrote “The Hill We Climb” is to give young people a chance to see “themselves in a historic moment,” adding that his publisher, Penguin Random House, has joined the nonprofit organization PEN America in a lawsuit in Escambia County in Florida to challenge the bans and bans on the book.
“Together, this is a hill we will not only climb, but a hill we will overcome,” concluded Gorman.
In a statement to The Hill, Miami-Dade County Public Schools said “no literature (book or poem) was banned or removed,” adding that Gorman’s poem is more suitable for middle school readers, and the poem is kept in the middle school section of its media center.
Gorman’s comments come as the Bob Graham Education Center, a K-8 school in Miami-Dade County, issued restrictions last month to elementary students over Gorman’s poem and three books. after a parent objected to five titles, claiming that the titles included topics inappropriate for students and should be removed from the environment, according to the Miami Herald.
“We are deeply disappointed that the Bob Graham Education Center has decided that elementary schools should not have access to Amanda Gorman’s beautiful poetry in their library,” a spokesperson for the Florida Freedom to Read Project said in a statement to The Hill.
“Without clear guidance from the FLDOE on what constitutes ‘age-appropriate’ information about racism, discrimination, and other topics covered by HB7 (the Stop WOKE Act), we continue to see the teachers and district leaders to ‘err on the side of caution’ and restrict these library books from the authors’ intended audience,” added the spokesperson. “This is a complete disservice to our young people who are learning to connect to these stories, looking for historical information beyond what is offered in the classroom, or those who happen to be advanced readers.”
Florida has been at the center of education controversies as its state legislature, along with Governor Ron DeSantis (R), has pushed legislation to limit the material and curriculum taught in schools.
In January, the DeSantis administration rejected an Advanced Placement African American Studies course, saying the content “vastly lacked educational value.” DeSantis also signed the Parental Rights in Education Act last year, which its critics call “Do not Say Gay,” which bans classroom teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity for certain grades.
The NAACP issued a formal travel advisory for Florida on Saturday, saying the state has become “the enemy of Black Americans” under DeSantis’ leadership.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.