Law & Courts

Book on Cuba Prompts Lawsuit

By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo — July 11, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Summer quiet has overtaken most elementary school libraries in the Miami-Dade County, Fla., district, but the break in the academic calendar has failed to hush a storm over a book series that includes controversial depictions of life in Cuba.

In response to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, U.S. District Judge Alan Gold has ordered the 360,000-student district to keep the books in schools until a hearing this month.

The School board voted to remove this book.

The school board voted to remove this book.

The series, featuring stories introducing key facts and characteristics of various countries, includes A Visit to Cuba and a Spanish-language version, Vamos a Cuba. Cuban children—smiling and wearing the uniform of a Communist youth group—adorn the cover of the Spanish version. That edition contains photographs of a mountainside mural with a caption that equates the work with ancient markings found inside caves there, but fails to identify it as a piece commissioned by Communist leaders in the 1960s.

The conflict began after a parent at one elementary school complained earlier this year that the books portray the island nation’s Communist government in a positive light, and may mislead students about life under President Fidel Castro’s regime. The subject is a sensitive one in Dade County, home to numerous anti-Castro Cuban immigrants and their families.

Two committees and Superintendent Rudolph F. Crew reviewed the books and concluded that they should remain. But the school board on June 14 ordered that the series—including books about Costa Rica, Colombia, Greece, and Mexico—be removed from school libraries, according to district spokesman Joseph Garcia.

“A book that misleads, confounds, or confuses has no part in the education of our students,” board member Perla Tabares Hantman told The Miami Herald.

“I understand that the images and words contained in

Vamos a Cuba are hurtful to many who lost their homeland,” Howard Simon, the executive director of the ACLU of Florida, said in a statement. “But the lawful response—as the U.S. Supreme Court has said time and time again—is to add more information with different viewpoints, not enforce censorship.”

A version of this article appeared in the July 12, 2006 edition of Education Week


School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.
Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Law & Courts In a Chat, Two U.S. Supreme Court Justices Talk Civics, Media Literacy
Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Amy Coney Barrett discussed civics education in a recorded interview presented by the Ronald Reagan Institute.
3 min read
Civics Justices 07292022 172183035
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Law & Courts Conservative Parent Group Sues School District Over Curriculum That Discusses Race and Gender
The lawsuit, among the first to cite a state law curbing discussions of those topics, could have broad implications for school districts.
9 min read
Image of a pending lawsuit.
Law & Courts Appeals Court Revives Student's Free Speech Suit Over Antisemitic Social Media Post
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit reinstated a case involving an off-campus post referring to the extermination of Jews.
3 min read
Image of a gavel
Law & Courts The Supreme Court and Education: Key Rulings That Impact Schools
A recap of the court's decisions that are relevant to schools and educators.
4 min read
Paul D. Clement at the lectern for the petitioner.
A sketch by Art Lien, who just retired after a long career as a courtroom artist, shows U.S. Supreme Court arguments in April in <i>Kennedy</i> v. <i>Bremerton School District</i>, a case about a high school football coach's post-game prayers and one of several cases of interest to educators during the court's 2021-22 term.
Art Lien