Amanda Gorman’s inauguration poem, “The Hill We Climb,” has been relocated by a Florida school following a complaint from a parent. The poet expressed that the school has prohibited younger readers from accessing her poem, which she recited at President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The Miami-Dade County school decided to move the poem from the elementary library section to the middle school section after a parent requested its complete removal. This information has been obtained through documents obtained by the Freedom to Read Project.
Amanda Gorman expressed her disappointment upon learning about the decision, stating that she wrote “The Hill We Climb” with the intention of allowing all young people to identify with a significant historical moment.
She shared her thoughts on social media, explaining that due to one parent’s complaint, younger readers at the school would no longer have access to her poem. Furthermore, Gorman noted that book bans of this nature were becoming more prevalent in the United States.
In response to the situation, the Miami-Dade school district released a statement, clarifying that the decision to relocate the poem was made because it was deemed more suitable for middle school students. The district stated that the poem was moved to the middle school section of the media center and remains available there.
Amanda Gorman, the first National Youth Poet Laureate in the United States, received widespread acclaim for “The Hill We Climb.” In her poem, she described herself as “a skinny black girl descended from slaves” who can aspire to become president but finds herself reciting a poem for one.
However, in March, a parent with two children attending Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes complained about Gorman’s poem, alleging the presence of indirect “hate messages.” The Florida Freedom to Read Project obtained records confirming the complaint, which also targeted other books such as the ABCs of Black History, Cuban Kids, and Countries in the News Cuba.
The parent claimed that these titles referenced critical race theory and indoctrination. Consequently, the school reviewed the mentioned titles and decided to place Gorman’s poem on the shelves for older children, citing the value of its vocabulary for middle school students.
These book-related controversies arise at a time when critics have labeled a law signed by Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis as “Don’t Say Gay.” The law prohibits instruction related to gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade.
Amanda Gorman responded to the school district’s statement through a tweet, defining a school book ban as any action that restricts or diminishes access to a book. She expressed her concerns about the decision to relocate her book, stating that it diminishes the access that elementary school children previously had to her poem.
Gorman, who performed at a presidential inauguration at the age of 22, mentioned receiving numerous letters and videos from inspired children since her recitation at the Capitol.
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