DeSantis mentions ‘The Hill We Climb’ controversy at Miami-Dade County Public Schools

FILE - American poet Amanda Gorman reads her commissioned poem The Hill We Climb during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 20, 2021. A bound edition of The Hill We Climb sold hundreds of thousand of copies even though readers could find the text for free online. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool, File) (Patrick Semansky, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

MIAMI – During the official launch of his 2024 White House bid, Gov. Ron DeSantis talked about the recent controversy around a poetry book at a Miami-Dade County Public Schools library.

The book, “The Hill We Climb,” remained at a library’s middle grades collection after a student’s parent filed a complaint in March writing that it included “hate messages,” indoctrination, and caused confusion.

“They moved it from elementary school library to middle school library,” DeSantis said on Wednesday night during a Twitter Spaces event with Elon Musk.

Related link: LISTEN to DeSantis discuss M-DCPS book controversy

Daily Salinas’s complaint prompted a review that was made possible by DeSantis’s Parental Rights in Education law, which critics have come to refer to as the “Don’t Say Gay” law. DeSantis said there was speculation that the book had been banned when it wasn’t.

“It was basically just determined that this particular book was better suited for middle school,” DeSantis said about the restriction.

In her complaint, Salinas, of Miami Lakes, wrote the book’s author was Oprah Winfrey, who wrote the foreword. The author is Amanda Gorman, who performed the poem during President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Salinas also complained about “Countries in the News: Cuba” by Kieran Walsh, “Cuban Kids” by George Ancona, The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez, and “Love to Langston” by Tony Medina.

Related link: LISTEN to DeSantis discuss reports of book bans

“The whole book ban thing is a hoax,” DeSantis said. “There has not been a single book banned in the state of Florida.”

DeSantis said parents can go buy whatever book they want, but because of the law, they are also able to block books at schools and review the curriculum to know what books are being used in school, and to ensure that those books are age and developmentally appropriate.

“Parents have flagged books in schools that for example teach middle school kids how to use sex apps, that provide graphic depictions of sex acts and sex toys for people as young as fifth grade, so clearly that is not appropriate to be in a middle school classroom, so parents object and the schools take them out,” DeSantis said.

More from DeSantis on his education platform

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A Miami Lakes parent objected to a book in March at a Miami-Dade County public school. (MCPS)
One parent objects to books at school in Miami-Dade. (MDCPS)
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Local 10 News Reporters Hatzel Vela and Liane Morejon contributed to this report.

About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.