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Florida school bans Amanda Gorman’s poem recited at Biden’s inauguration

National youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman recited her inaugural poem during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the US Capitol in Washington, Jan. 20, 2021.Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

A Miami parent’s complaint that the highly lauded poem written and read by young Amanda Gorman at President Biden’s inauguration carries hate messages and serves to “cause confusion and indoctrinate students,” has prompted a South Florida elementary school to ban the piece.

Gorman, a 2020 graduate of Harvard University and the US’s first youth poet laureate, at 22, was the youngest inaugural poet in the nation’s history. She took to social media Tuesday to say she was “gutted” by the ban of The Hills We Climb.

“Unnecessary #bookbans like these ... are on the rise, and we must fight back,” Gorman wrote on Instagram.


The ban at the Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes is the most recent example in a growing trend of Florida schools restricting or removing books from libraries since Governor Ron DeSantis signed a series of education bills last year, including the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, according to the Miami Herald, which first reported the ban.

A Los Angeles native who majored in sociology, Gorman wrote the poem “so all young people could see themselves in a historical moment.” Gorman said she has since been overwhelmed by an outpouring from youth who say they’ve been inspired to write their own poetry.

“Robbing children of the chances to find their voices in literature is a violation of their right to the free thought and free speech,” Gorman wrote.

The Harvard Gazette described the poem as a call “for unity and justice, through both reckoning with the nation’s past and looking toward its future.”

Many inauguration viewers raved about Gorman’s transfixing delivery and powerful message, including Oprah Winfrey and President Obama.

But Daily Salinas, a parent of two children at the elementary school in Miami Lakes, objected to the poem last month, saying it wasn’t suitable for schools, according to the Miami Herald.


The poem “is not educational” and indirectly carried “hate messages,” and served to “cause confusion and indoctrinate students,” according to a form submitted March 29 and attached to Gorman’s Instagram post.

At Salinas’s urging, a school committee also banned three books, The ABCs of Black History, Cuban Kids, and Love to Langston, for references of critical race theory and gender ideology, the Miami Herald reported.

Salinas told the Miami Herald that school libraries are meant “to support the curriculum of the school, and I don’t see how these books support the curriculum.”

Tonya Alanez can be reached at tonya.alanez@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @talanez.