Fact Check: Poet Amanda Gorman's Book Was NOT Restricted In More Than One Elementary School In Florida County

Fact Check

  • by: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Poet Amanda Gorman's Book Was NOT Restricted In More Than One Elementary School In Florida County One School

Was a book by Amanda Gorman, the youngest poet to perform her work at a U.S. presidential inauguration, banned from public elementary schools in Miami-Dade County in Florida? No, that's not quite right: The book version of Gorman's inaugural poem "The Hill We Climb" was restricted to the middle school section of a media center at just one public school in the county.

The claim appeared in a post on May 23, 2023, on Facebook. The post included a graphic with a picture of Gordon and text that read:

Miami-Dade County has banned the poem read by Amanda Gorman during President Biden's inauguration from elementary schools following the objection of a single parent.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

amanda gorman poem banned FB post.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed May 31 15:13:57 2023 UTC)

The claim not only appeared on Facebook but was posted on multiple high-profile social media accounts such as those for actress Gina Gershon and Pulitzer-Prize-winning art critic Jerry Saltz.

According to an article from the Miami Herald, Daily Salinas, a parent of two children at Bob Graham Education Center, a pre-K-8 public school, submitted challenges to the school about five books in the school's media center. Out of the five, a school materials review committee made up of school representatives decided that four of the books would be restricted to middle school students, including Gorman's book.

In an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Salinas said that she only read some parts of the books she challenged. As Gorman herself pointed out in a tweet published on May 23, 2023, Salinas' complaint even incorrectly lists Oprah Winfrey -- who wrote the foreword of Gorman's book, not the poem -- as the author of "The Hill We Climb."

Miami-Dade County Public Schools published a tweet on May 23, 2023, clarifying that Gorman's book was not banned or removed from one school, but rather moved to the middle school level of the school's media center. There was no mention of the book being banned or removed from all elementary public schools in the county. The tweet read:

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 book is available in the media center as part of the middle grades collection.

Lead Stories contacted the Miami-Dade County Public Schools' Office of Communications for clarification regarding whether the poem was banned at any other elementary schools in the county. We will update this story with any response.

The Bob Graham Education Center's Parent Teacher Student Association (BGEC PTSA) seemed to debunk the claim on its Instagram page as well. In a post published on May 24, 2023, a statement read in part:

We want to clarify that the story being spread is inaccurate. The book in question is actually available in our media center and intended for our students. We take great care in providing accurate information and appropriate resources for our young readers.

Because the post does not explicitly name "The Hill We Climb" as "The book in question," Lead Stories reached out to the BGEC PTSA for more information. We will update this story with any response.

Gorman has made it clear that she disagrees with the assessment that the book was not banned. In a quote tweet published on May 23, 2023, on her official Twitter account, Gorman replied to a tweet from the Florida Freedom to Read Project saying:

A school book ban is any action taken against a book that leaves access to a book restricted or diminished. This decision of moving my book from its original place, taken after one parent complained, diminishes the access elementary schoolers would have previously had to my poem. Glad @FLFreedomRead and I could help clarify that for @MDCPS to ensure accurate information.

Lead Stories has previously debunked other claims about book bans, including that the children's book "Abuela" was banned in several states and that a book by sham doctor Dr. Sebi was banned in multiple countries.

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  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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