A Florida parent tried to get Amanda Gorman's inaugural poem banned from school — and confused her with Oprah
- A Florida parent tried to get Amanda Gorman's poetry banned, complaining it could "indoctrinate students."
- The school says it moved the book, but any student can still read it.
A Florida parent tried to get Amanda Gorman's inaugural poem removed at her kids' school, claiming "The Hill We Climb" could "indoctrinate students."
And the mother mixed up Gorman and Oprah Winfrey when filing her complaint to the school.
A copy of the parent's complaint, which was obtained by the Florida Freedom to Read Project and later shared by Gorman, shows she requested on March 29 to have the book of poetry removed "from the total environment" at a Miami K-8 school because "it is not educational and have indirectly hate messages" and it could "cause confusion and indoctrinate students."
The parent — Daily Salinas, who has two kids at Bob Graham Education Center, the Miami Herald reported — also mistakenly said the work was written by Ophrah Winfrey, according to the form.
"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 #bookbans like these are on the rise, and we must fight back," Gorman wrote on Twitter in response to the news.
According to the forms and documents obtained by the Florida Freedom to Read Project on Twitter, Salinas also submitted requests to ban four other titles at Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes, but the district only took action on three books in addition to Gorman's poem.
The other four titles are "Love to Langston" by Tony Medina, "Countries in the News Cuba" by Kieran Walsh, "Cuban Kids" by George Ancona, and "The ABCs of Black History" by Rio Cortez.
The school opted to keep "Countries in the News Cuba" on the shelves of the school's media center but moved the other four titles to the library's section intended for middle schoolers.
Salinas told the Herald she "is not for eliminating or censoring any books," but wants students "to know the truth." She questioned why the school chose to keep four of the books available to middle schoolers, arguing that all five should have been restricted for all students, the Herald reported.
She added that school libraries are meant "to support the curriculum of the school and I don't see how these books support the curriculum," according to the Miami Herald.
Gorman said she is "gutted," but the school told Insider the poem isn't banned
Gorman slammed the situation on Twitter, repeating claims that the school banned the book.
"I'm gutted," Gorman wrote on Twitter Tuesday. "Because of one parent's complaint, my inaugural poem, 'The Hill We Climb,' has been banned from an elementary school in Miami-Dade County."
"Often all it takes to remove these works from our libraries and schools is a single objection," Gorman added. "And let's be clear: most of the forbidden works are by authors who have struggled for generations to get on bookshelves. The majority of these censored works are by queer and non-white voices."
But Miami-Dade County Public Schools insisted that Gorman's poem wasn't actually banned.
"In order to ensure accurate information, @MDCPS is compelled to clarify that the book titled, 'The Hill We Climb' by @TheAmandaGorman was never banned or removed from one of our schools," the district wrote on Twitter Tuesday night. "The book is available in the media center as part of the middle grades collection."
A spokesperson for Bob Graham Education Center told Insider Wednesday that "the book in question was not pulled. It has not been banned. Elementary students can still access the title and they can check it out of the library."
Book bans have become the new normal in Florida
Calls to ban books in schools have risen since Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a sweeping education bill into law, which prohibits discussion of gender identity or sexual orientation in young students' classrooms.
Florida expanded the law this year to ban discussions about gender for all grades until college.
According to PEN America, 175 books have been banned in Florida this year.
The organization, along with Penguin Randomhouse, filed a lawsuit against a Florida school district over the book bans, the Miami Herald reported.
"I wrote 'The Hill We Climb' to that all young people could see themselves in a historical moment. Ever since, I've received countless letters and videos from children inspired by 'The Hill We Climb,' to write their own poems," Gorman wrote on Twitter. "Robbing children of the chance to find their voices in literature is a violation of their right to free thought and free speech."
"Together, this is a hill we won't just climb, but a hill we will conquer."
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