Amanda Gorman appears on the cover of Vogue 0:48
(WABNEWS) — The acclaimed poem written by Amanda Gorman for the inauguration of President Joe Biden has been removed from the elementary section of a Miami-Dade County public school following a parent complaint and review by the school, as confirmed by the district on Tuesday.
A parent of a student at the Bob Graham Education Center, a K-8 school in Miami Lakes, took issue with Gorman’s poem “The Hill We Climb,” which mistakenly featured Oprah Winfrey as author/editor, according to documents obtained by the Florida Freedom to Read Project.RELATED
“It is not educational and indirectly contains hateful messages,” the complaint said, adding that the poem “would cause confusion and indoctrinate students.”
The same father filed similar complaints about “Love to Langston,” a biography of black poet Langston Hughes based on poetry, “The ABCs of Black History” and two books on Cuba, complaints obtained by the nonprofit group show. .
According to minutes of a commission meeting in April, obtained by the nonprofit, a school materials review group refused to remove the books from the school entirely, but decided to move Gorman’s poem. and two other disputed items to the high school section of the library, which is for grades six through eight.
The removal of the poem is the latest consequence of a Florida law that requires approval of books in classrooms and gives any parent the power to complain about specific works. Under Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican running for president, Florida has used this and other “parental rights” laws to ban works on LGBTQ issues, social justice and even math textbooks.
Gorman, the country’s first poet laureate, was 22 when she performed “The Hill We Climb” at Biden’s 2021 inauguration. Inspired by the Capitol insurrection two weeks earlier, the 700-word poem criticized the “force that would tear our nation apart instead of sharing it” and spoke of the need for justice and social change.
“The new dawn blooms when we set it free,” the poem concludes. “Because there is always light, if only we are brave enough to see it, if only we are brave enough to be it.”
The poem and her performance launched her to national stardom, with appearances at the Super Bowl, on the covers of magazines TIME and Vogue and on bestseller lists.
Gorman criticizes the removal of the poem
Gorman was “destroyed” by the district’s decision, she said in a release this Tuesday.
“I wrote ‘The Hill We Climb’ so that all young people could see themselves in a historic moment. Since then, I have received countless letters and videos from children who have been inspired by ‘The Hill We Climb’ to write their own poems,” wrote. “Robbing children of the opportunity to find their voice in literature is a violation of their right to free thought and freedom of expression.”
This Wednesday, the mayor of Miami-Dade County invited Gorman to give a reading.
“Her poem inspired our young people to actively participate in their government and help shape the future. We want you to come to Miami-Dade to have your poem read. If you agree, we’ll coordinate it,” wrote Daniella Levine Digs on Twitter.
In a statement to WABNEWS Tuesday night, Miami-Dade County Public Schools spokesman Elmo Lugo said, “No literature (books or poem) has been banned or withdrawn.”
“It was determined at the school that ‘The Hill We Climb’ is more suitable for high school students and has been filed in the high school section of the media center. The book is still available in the media center,” he said.
Lugo did not respond to a request to verify the authenticity of the complaint documents released by the Florida Freedom to Read Project, instead saying the district would treat WABNEWS’s inquiry as a formal public records request.