Miami schoolchildren can get their dose of Cuba after all, the L.A. Times reported today, as “a federal judge Monday ordered the Miami-Dade County School District to restore a children’s book about Cuba to school library shelves, delivering a blow to fiercely anti-Communist Cuban exiles who complained the book sugar-coats contemporary life in their homeland.”
The cheerily titled Let’s Go to Cuba was yanked off elementary school library shelves due to cries from Cuban-born parents and politicians that “its depiction of life in the island nation ruled by Fidel Castro as misleading, propagandistic and a waste of taxpayers’ money.” The L.A. Times article says that the book inspired “months of heated debate and all-night meetings,” the outcome of which was a county school board vote last month to ban the book – along with 23 other titles in a series on life in foreign countries.
This resulted in an outcry from human rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and Miami-Dade’s Student Government Association, and both of them suing the district for free-speech violations. “Two review committees and the county schools superintendent had advised the board that removing the book might be seen as political censorship,” according to the story. “After hearing testimony from both sides Friday, U.S. District Judge Alan S. Gold on Monday issued a preliminary injunction requiring the school district to keep the books available at its 30-odd elementary school libraries until a court hears and rules on the lawsuit … By banning the books, [the judge] added, the school board was infringing on students’ rights to consider them for leisure reading, which ‘goes to the heart of the 1st Amendment issue.'”
Read the L.A. Times story here