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Florida School Restricts Access to Amanda Gorman's Inaugural Poem

Amanda Gorman
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

Amanda Gorman has spoken out against the restrictions, which were implemented after one parent complained.

Amanda Gorman, the young poet who read her piece The Hill We Climb at President Biden's inauguration, is speaking out after her work was removed from a Florida elementary school.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools removed Gorman's poem from the elementary school after one parent complained about it to the district, according to documents obtained by the Florida Freedom to Read Project. The one parent requested five titles be removed "from the total environment."

The one parent said that Gorman's poem is “not educational” and contains indirect “hate messages.” They also filed complaints against Cuban Kids and Countries in the News Cuba, calling the titles "indoctrination," as well as challenged The ABCs of Black History, claiming it contained critical race theory and "gender ideology."

In the complaint form about The Hill We Climb, the one parent incorrectly listed the author not as Gorman, but as Oprah Winfrey. In the section that asked "Are you aware of professional reviews on this material?" the parent wrote: "I don't need it." Their complaint also contained several grammatical errors.

Gorman posted a document of the complaint to her Facebook page, alongside a statement condemning the ban.

"So they ban my book from young readers, confuse me with Oprah, fail to specify what parts of my poetry they object to, refuse to read any reviews, and offer no alternatives... Unnecessary book bans like these are on the rise, and we must fight back," Gorman wrote.

In a statement, the district claimed that the decision did not constitute a book ban, as “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."

Gorman was quick to set the record straight on her social media accounts, writing soon after on Twitter that any restrictions deprive students of knowledge and their constitutional right to information.

"A school book ban is any action taken against a book that leaves access to a book restricted or diminished," Gorman said. "This decision of moving my book from its original place, taken after one parent complained, diminishes the access elementary schoolers would have previously had to my poem."

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