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ACLU: Cuban's Freedom Fight Not Miami's First Amendment War
Organization Vows To Challenge Book Ban
POSTED: 4:38 pm EDT June 15, 2006
UPDATED: 5:03 pm EDT June 15, 2006
MIAMI -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida is promising a fight over the Miami-Dade School Board's decision to remove a children's book about Cuba from public school libraries.Lawyers and staff of the ACLU are preparing a legal challenge to the board's decision to remove "Vamos A Cuba" and 24 other books in a children's travel series from libraries.Wednesday afternoon, the board voted 6-3 to take the books off the shelves.In a statement, the ACLU said, "(The) precedent -- if allowed to stand -- opens the door to yank virtually any book off the shelf of a school library at the whim of a single parent and a school board judgment that there is some inaccuracy or omission in a book."The ACLU maintains that the U.S. Supreme Court's response to controversial or unpopular speech is to add more information with different viewpoints, not enforce censorship.The book contains images of smiling children wearing uniforms of Cuba's Communist youth group and a carnival celebrating the Cuban revolution of 1959. A parent who emigrated from Cuba said the book doesn't accurately represent life in the country, and asked for the board to remove the book.Both a review committee and Superintendent Rudy Crew had recommended that the books not be removed from the libraries. Crew had suggested parental consent be required for borrowing the book, or that a sticker on the cover advise parents of the book's weaknesses.One board member said he only supported the ban out of fear for his family's safety and to encourage a lawsuit by the ACLU.The ACLU statement said: "The fight for freedom in Cuba cannot be waged as a war on the First Amendment in Miami."
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