Education

Amanda Gorman responds after school restricts access to poem

Under Florida's Parental Rights in Education law, a parent can file a complaint about educational material that they feel is not age appropriate.

National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman recites a poem at President Biden's inauguration.
Amanda Gorman recites her poem "The Hill We Climb" at President Biden's inauguration.
Patrick Semansky/AP
SMS

Amanda Gorman is calling on people to speak out after learning a school in Florida restricted access to one of her poems. 

Gorman, the first national youth poet laureate, recited the poem at President Joe Biden's inauguration.  

The Miami Herald reported this week that Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes moved Gorman's poem "The Hill We Climb" out of the section of the library for elementary school students after a parent complained. 

The parent complained about the poem and other books in the library, saying they included references to critical race theory and promoted gender ideology and indoctrination, according to the Miami Herald.

Under Florida's Parental Rights in Education law, a parent can file a complaint about education material that they feel is not age appropriate. That material will then undergo a review to determine whether it's acceptable. 

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In the case of Gorman's poem, it was reportedly moved out of the elementary school section of the library and placed in the section for middle school students. 

Gorman said she was "gutted" when she learned of the decision.

"I wrote 'The Hill We Climb' so that all young people could see themselves in a historical moment," she said. 

Gorman added, "Robbing children of the chance to find their voices in literature is a violation of their right to free thought and free speech."

Gorman's publisher Penguin Random House announced this month that it had joined a lawsuit to challenge book ban in Florida. The poet encouraged others to make sure their voices are heard. 

"Together, tis is a hill we won't just climb, but a hill we will conquer," she said.

One person in power is already speaking up. The mayor of Miami-Dade County expressed her support for Gorman on Wednesday, calling the poet an inspiration.

"We want you to come to Miami-Dade to do a reading of your poem. If you're in, we will coordinate," Mayor Daniella Levine Cava tweeted.

Gorman has not yet responded to the mayor. 

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