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    Posted on Monday, 11.16.09
    Court won't get involved in book banning case
    By LAURA WIDES-MUNOZ and JESSE J. HOLLAND
    Associated Press Writers

    MIAMI — The Supreme Court is staying out of a dispute in Miami between
    school officials and civil libertarians over a book about Cuba that
    depicts smiling children in communist uniforms but avoids mention of
    problems in the country.

    The justices on Monday rejected an appeal from the American Civil
    Liberties Union of Florida that sought to prevent Miami officials from
    removing the book "Vamos a Cuba" and its English-language version, "A
    Visit to Cuba," from library shelves.

    The Miami-Dade County School District board wants to ban the book,
    intended for children ages 5 to 8, because it does not mention limits on
    civil liberties in Cuba, political indoctrination of public school
    children and food rationing among other issues. Board members voted to
    remove the book after a parent who spent time as a political prisoner in
    Cuba complained.

    The school district would not immediately comment on the decision.

    Frank Bolanos, a former Miami-Dade school board chair who championed
    efforts to remove the book, said he was pleased.

    "I support the author's right to publish the book as incomplete and
    defective as it may be," he said, "but we're simply not required to pay
    for it with taxpayers dollars," he said, although the district already
    spent money to buy the book. Bolanos said the case sets precedent for
    districts to back parents' rights in future cases.

    The ACLU disagreed.

    "These books were removed under the guise of 'inaccuracies,' but the
    real reason they were removed was because the books ran afoul of the
    political orthodoxy of a majority of the school board members," Florida
    director Howard Simon said in a statement Monday.

    "If that is to become the new standard for censoring books from public
    library shelves, the ACLU may be immersed in censorship battles for
    years to come."

    A federal judge in Miami ruled that the board should add books of
    different perspectives instead of removing offending titles. But the
    11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta said the district wouldn't
    be infringing on freedom of speech rights by removing the book because
    it presents an inaccurate view of life in Cuba.

    The 2001 book by Alta Schreier contains images of smiling children
    wearing uniforms of Cuba's communist youth group and celebrating the
    country's 1959 revolution. In discussing daily life, the book says
    children work, study and play the same way children in other countries do.

    The case is ACLU v. Miami-Dade County School Board, 08-1564.

    Court won't get involved in book banning case – Cuba News –
    MiamiHerald.com (16 November 2009)
    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/americas/cuba/more/story/1336491.html

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