Media Outlets Claimed A Florida School ‘Banned’ A Poem. It’s Still Available

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Reagan Reese Contributor
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Several media outlets claimed a Florida school had “banned” and “restricted” a poem despite it still being available to students.

Politico, USA Today and The Guardian ran headlines Tuesday claiming that a school within Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) had banned “The Hill We Climb” after a parent complained that the poem, read at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, contained “hate messages.” However, MDCPS clarified in a tweet following the stories that the poem had not been “banned”; rather, it was deemed more age appropriate for older students and moved to a section of the school’s media center intended for middle school students. (RELATED: Book Publisher, Authors Sue To Keep Sexually Explicit Books In Florida Schools)

“In order to ensure accurate information, MDCPS is compelled to clarify that the book titled, ‘The Hill We Climb’ by [Amanda Gorman] was never banned or removed from one of our schools. The book is available in the media center as part of the middle grades collection,” the school district wrote in a tweet.

However, Politico reported that the “book was removed from circulation from the K-8 Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes,” citing both documents released by the Florida Freedom to Read Project and reporting from the Miami Herald, which each clearly state that the book remains in the school.

Similarly, The Guardian’s headline read, “Amanda Gorman ‘gutted’ after Florida school bans Biden inauguration poem.” The outlet’s article continues to say that the poem had been “banned from Bob Graham education center in Miami Lakes.”

The decision to move the book came after a parent of a student at Bob Graham Education Center, a K-8 school within the district, challenged the poem stating it was “not educational and have (sic) indirectly hate messages,” and would “cause confusion and indoctrinate students,” according to documents released by the the Florida Freedom to Read Project.

The parent challenged four additional books and poems, though the school district’s materials-review panel decided to not completely remove the material, a Florida Freedom to Read Project report stated.

The Miami Herald wrote that MDCPS had bar[red] the poem and issued “restrictions” on several books within the elementary school, including Gorman’s poem.

Throughout the country, lawmakers and parents are fighting over age-appropriate content in the classroom and whether material is being censored; on May 12, PEN America confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation that its 2021-2022 “Index of School Book Bans” includes books that are no longer banned or were never banned in the first place. The Heritage Foundation found that 74% of the 2,532 books listed on PEN America’s report are still available in schools.

Politico, USA Today, The Guardian and MDCPS did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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