Florida School Restricts Access to Amanda Gorman’s Inauguration Poem
A grade school in Miami-Dade County said “The Hill We Climb,” which Ms. Gorman read at President Biden’s inauguration in 2021, was “better suited” for older students after a parent complained about it.
Amanda Gorman, who in 2021 became the youngest inaugural poet in United States history when she spoke at President Biden’s swearing-in, said she was “gutted” this week after a Florida school said the poem she recited that day was inappropriate for its youngest students.
The Miami-Dade County school district said that one of its schools, the Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes,
which educates children from prekindergarten through eighth grade, had determined that the poem, “The Hill We Climb,” was more appropriate for middle school students.
Ms. Gorman, now 25, said in a statement on Instagram on Tuesday that she wrote the poem “so 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,” she said.
“Robbing children of the chance to find their voices in literature is a violation of their right to free thought and free speech.”
The Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the nation’s fourth-largest school district by enrollment, said in an emailed statement that while said that while the poem had been moved to a different section of the library at the Bob Graham Education Center, “no literature (books or poem) has been banned or removed.”
“It was determined at the school that ‘The Hill We Climb’ is better suited for middle school students and it was shelved in the middle school section of the media center,” the school district said. “The book remains available in the media center.”
The challenge to Ms. Gorman’s poem, which was reported by The Miami Herald, came from Daily Salinas, a parent of two students at the school, who complained in March about it and four other titles,
according to records provided to The New York Times by The Florida Freedom to Read Project, an advocacy group that opposes efforts to ban and restrict access to books in the state.