A Florida school has banned its younger students from reading Amanda Gorman’s poem, “The Hills We Climb,” after a parent claimed that it was full of hate. The Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes has made the poem available only to middle schoolers at the K-8 school.
The parent, Daily Salinas, filed a complaint in March, alleging that the poem could cause confusion and indoctrinate students with hate messages. She also claimed that Oprah and not Gorman had written the poem.
Upon learning about the ban, Gorman took to social media to express her disappointment and frustration. She called out Salinas, saying that the ban failed to specify which parts of the poem were objectionable and that no alternatives had been offered. Gorman expressed her dismay that the works of art could be removed with only one complaint.
Gorman has announced that Penguin Random House, her publisher, is partnering with PEN America, an organization that defends free expression through literature, to fight back against book bans with a lawsuit. Gorman’s poem is about unity in America and the hope that the country can come together in a time of such divisiveness. The poem received high praise when Gorman read it on Capitol Hill just weeks after insurrectionists stormed the same location.
The Bob Graham Education Center’s ban on Gorman’s poem has caused controversy and raised concerns about censorship. The lawsuit filed against the school’s decision will undoubtedly bring attention to the importance of free speech and expression in schools and beyond.