Fla. school board bans Cuba book
Fri Jun 16, 4:49 AM ET
A children's book about Cuba must be removed from all Miami-Dade County school libraries, the school board ruled.
In a 6-3 vote, board members decided the book — "Vamos a Cuba" and its English-language version, "A Visit to Cuba" — was inappropriate for young readers because of inaccuracies and omissions about life in the communist nation.
"A book that misleads, confounds or confuses has no part in the education of our students, most especially elementary students, who are most impressionable and vulnerable," said board member Perla Tabares Hantman, who supported the ban.
The book, by Alta Schreier, contains images of smiling children wearing uniforms of Cuba's communist youth group and a carnival celebrating the 1959 Cuban revolution. The district owns 49 copies of the book in Spanish and English.
In voting to remove the book from the district's 33 schools, the board on Wednesday rejected the recommendations of two review committees and Superintendent Rudy Crew.
"We are rejecting the professional recommendation of our staff based on political imperatives that have been pressed upon members of this board," said board member Evelyn Greer, who opposed the ban.
The controversy over the book began in April when parent Juan Amador Rodriguez complained about its depiction of life under communist rule.
"The Cuban people have been paying a dear price for 47 years for the reality to be known," Amador Rodriguez, a former political prisoner in Cuba, told The Miami Herald. "A 32-page book cannot silence that."
The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida was preparing a legal challenge, executive director Howard Simon said. He said the board should add more material with differing viewpoints rather than remove books that could be offensive.
The board also ordered the removal of similar books from the same series about 24 nations, including Greece, Mexico and Vietnam. In their place, Crew is to get more detailed books, the board decided.