Thursday, August 24, 2006

Protecting the Children...from....?

The Miami-Dade School Board voted to continue their fight to remove a controversial children's book on Cuba from their libraries.

It has become a politically-charged issue and the timing puts it two week prior to the Sept. 5 elections.

While a judge rejected the Board's reason (that it presents a distorted view of life in Cuba, showing smiling children and omitting problems that life under a dictator present) for banning Vamos a Cuba and 23 other titles.

"The discussion around the issue of parental rights and the sovereign powers of elected officials and wise use of taxpayer dollars is an issue worth fighting all the way to the Supreme Court," said board member Frank Bolaños, who opposes the book. "This is a matter of principle -- it warrants us investing as much time and resources as we need to be able to protect these things we believe in."

"Do we have a right to protect our children?" continued Bolaños. "I think we have the right and responsibility to do that."

The board voted to remove the 32-page books in June 2006, with the reason that they oversimplify the foreign countries they portray. The books are aimed at a target audience of 5 to 7-year-olds. Since only the Cuba book was ever discussed in detail, the American Civil Liberties Union's lawsuit was launched on the premise that the ban was based on politics.

The district has already spent more than $123,000 to fight the case and has already budgeted another $127,000 for the appeal.

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