Thursday, August 24, 2006

Censorship is Always Bad (in my book)

Miami school board wants Cuba book off its shelves (From Yahoo News)

Miami's school board decided to appeal a ruling ordering its libraries to reinstate a children's book about Cuba, which exiles claim paints an overly rosy picture of the communist-run island.

"We will (appeal) all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary," said Frank Bolanos, one of the main leaders of the campaign to ban "A Visit to Cuba" from schools, and who has taken up the issue in his campaign for a state senate seat.

The Miami school board on Tuesday decided 5-2 to appeal an earlier ruling by a judge who ordered schools to return the controversial book to its shelves.

The school board had removed the children's book from schools after a parent complained it fails to describe the tough conditions in Cuba, where he said children are indoctrinated and food was rationed.

But in July, a federal judge ordered the book back on school shelves, saying the board could not use its authority to suppress ideas it did not share.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sharply criticized the Miami school board.
"If we removed every book that offends one person, or even a group of people, our school library shelves would be nearly empty," said ACLU spokesman Brandon Hensler.

He said the ACLU, which had sued against the withdrawal of the books, is prepared to continue litigating. "We are confident that free speech will prevail at all levels."

The book, aimed at children aged five to seven, contains color pictures of people, buildings and landscapes in Cuba, and simple sentences, such as one that says "the people work, eat and study like you."

Published in English and Spanish, it is part of a series of books about different countries.
Miami is home to numerous Cuban-Americans, many of whom risked their lives to flee their Caribbean island homeland.


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