On June 7 2023, amid right-wing book-banning attempts sweeping the United States, poet and author Amanda Gorman addressed the banning of her own book The Hill We Climb at a Florida elementary school.
Her book was part of a longrunning controversy about which Gorman tweeted a statement on May 23 2023:
Amanda Gorman’s The Hill We Climb: Social Media Discourse
Alongside Gorman’s tweet, a photograph of her typed statement read:
I’m gutted. Because of one parent’s complaint, my inaugural poem, The Hill We Climb, has been banned from an elementary school in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
Book bans aren’t new. But they have been on the rise — according to the ALA, 40% more books were challenged in 2022 compared to 2021. What’s more, often all it takes to remove these works from our libraries and schools is a single objection. And let’s be clear: most of the forbidden works are by authors who have struggled for generations to get on bookshelves. The majority of these censored works are by queer and non-white voices.
I wrote The Hill We Climb so that all young people could see themselves in a historical moment. Ever since, I’ve received countless letters and videos from children inspired by The Hill We Climb to write their own poems. Robbing children of the chance to find their voices in literature is a violation of their right to free thought and free speech.
What can we do? We must speak out and have our voices heard. That’s why my publisher, Penguin Random House, joined PEN America, authors, and community members in a lawsuit in Florida’s Escambia County to challenge book restrictions like these. To help, donate to and visit @PENAmerica and spread the word about these book bans.
Together, this is a hill we won’t just climb, but a hill we will conquer. – A
In a threaded reply, Gorman shared an image of the purported complaint leading to the removal of The Hill We Climb in a Miami school district. As Gorman indicated in her tweet, the complaint incorrectly identified the author as Oprah Winfrey.
Another noteworthy element of the complaint was about the manner in which the ban on Gorman’s book would be framed in news reports. It was dated March 29 2023, and in a section asking the complainant what they “want to do about this media,” a box reading “Remove the challenged material from the total environment” was checked by the complainant:
“Your book wasn’t banned, it was age-restricted in ONE school. Middle school students can still access it …”
“As a writer I’d expect you to know the definition of the word “ban’ … “
“I support the Hispanic mother that brought the complaint. Your remarks are racist and insensitive @TheAmandaGorman. You may want to wage a war on the Latino community but it’s best that if you want respect for your community you best respect ours. The state of Florida didn’t do anything to you. Our community rose up to you,. Ya tu sabe!”
“???? Bruh. It wasn’t banned. It was moved to the middle section of the library instead. Calm down.”
Another user shared a polished infographic, describing a so-called “book ban hoax” in the state of Florida — phrasing we have encountered in previous fact checks:
It appeared as though the arguments for and against the book’s restriction being a “ban” hinged on different interpretations of the meaning of the word, a common tactic in weaponized disinformation campaigns, which are often characterized by blurring, changing, or co-opting definitions of specific words or phrases for signaling or dog whistling purposes (e.g. “groomer” or “elites”).
For reference, the First Amendment Dictionary defines a “book ban” as follows:
Book banning, a form of censorship, occurs when private individuals, government officials, or organizations remove books from libraries, school reading lists, or bookstore shelves because they object to their content, ideas, or themes. Those advocating a ban complain typically that the book in question contains graphic violence, expresses disrespect for parents and family, is sexually explicit, exalts evil, lacks literary merit, is unsuitable for a particular age group, or includes offensive language.
Merriam-Webster officers a concise definition of the word “ban“:
also : to prohibit the use, performance, or distribution of
ban a book
And Encyclopedia.com addresses the topic of book banning in the following way:
Books can be restricted by an outright ban or through less overt forms of social or political pressure. One formal method is a legislative prohibition of certain subjects and texts being taught in schools, including Tennessee’s 1925 law proscribing the teaching of evolution in schools (which led to the Scopes “Monkey Trial”). In Epperson v. Arkansas (1968), the Supreme Court invalidated a similar law in Arkansas. Informal banning, which John Stuart Mill considered even more pernicious to liberty, also occurs. During the McCarthy era, many college instructors dropped communist and socialist books from courses due to informal pressures.
Another method of book banning occurs through postal and customs restrictions. The federal government has prohibited the importation and interstate shipment of obscene works since the middle of the nineteenth century, most famously by the so-called Comstock Act (1873), which is still in effect in modified form. Since 1960, literary works dealing with sexual themes have enjoyed strong First Amendment protection, but before this time the U.S. Post and Customs Offices banned classic works such as Ulysses, Leaves of Grass, Tropic of Cancer, and God’s Little Acre.Only after a federal court extended First Amendment protection to D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover in Grove Press v. Christenberry (1959) have works with literary merit been assured of escaping federal censorship.
Book banning also prominently takes the form of removing books from libraries or other sources. During the 1950s, the banning of liberal and left-wing books was widespread. In the last decade, censors have targeted such allegedly “politically incorrect” books as Huckleberry Finn and Lolita. Traditional moralists have continued to single out books dealing with controversial social and sexual subjects, including teenage sexual exploration, such as in Judy Blume‘s Forever, homosexuality in Michael Willhoite’s Daddy’s Roommate, and racial tensions, such as in Maya Angelou‘s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. In 1982, the Supreme Court heard a case where a school board removed Slaughterhouse-Five, The Naked Ape, and Soul on Ice from the school library for being “anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, and just plain filthy.” The Court ruled in Board of Education Island Trees Union Free School District v. Pico that books may not be removed if the decision to do so is motivated by disapproval of the viewpoint expressed in the book.
Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis and ‘Book Ban Hoax’ Messaging
On March 28 2023, we published a very similar fact check about a Florida school district’s decision to ban “restrict” the Disney film Ruby Bridges.
In that fact check, we said:
Predictably, some discussion about the controversy over Ruby Bridges in Florida framed it as “semantic” in origin. A discussion post to Reddit’s r/AskConservative prefaced the topic with a disclaimer that “calling it a ‘ban’ is a semantics argument” …
Under that, we embedded a March 28 2023 thread on Reddit’s r/AskConservatives. It covered Florida’s book bans, and its author was clearly concerned about the community’s apparent tendency to focus on specific words rather than the concepts underlying them.
In an attempt to sidestep debate, the submitter prefaced their post with a plea that people “agree that calling it a ‘ban’ is a semantics argument”:
In our entry on the Ruby Bridges ban, we quoted a March 8 2023 statement by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis about a “book ban hoax”:
On March 8 2023, the office of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) issued a statement, “Governor Ron DeSantis Debunks Book Ban Hoax.” It contained a section labeled “Myth/Fact,” and it was prefaced as follows:
***EXPLICIT CONTENT NOT SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN***
[On March 8 2023], Governor Ron DeSantis further set the record straight, debunking the mainstream media, unions and leftist activists’ hoax of empty library bookshelves and political theater pretending that Florida’s schools cannot teach about topics like African American History, including topics like slavery. Governor DeSantis touted Florida’s high quality standards for required instruction of African American History, extensive African American History educational requirements in state law that Governor DeSantis has successfully helped expand in recent years. Governor DeSantis also displayed examples of books that have been found in libraries and classrooms in 23 school districts across the state that contained pornographic content and other types of violent and age-inappropriate content. For more information, click here.
“Exposing the ‘book ban’ hoax is important because it reveals that some are attempting to use our schools for indoctrination,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “In Florida, pornographic and inappropriate materials that have been snuck into our classrooms and libraries to sexualize our students violate our state education standards. Florida is the education state and that means providing students with a quality education free from sexualization and harmful materials that are not age appropriate.”
“Education is about the pursuit of truth, not woke indoctrination,” said Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “Under Governor DeSantis, Florida is committed to rigorous academic content and high standards so that students learn how to think and receive the tools necessary to go forth and make great decisions.”
In DeSantis’ statement, text reading “click here” contained a link to the graphic in the tweet above. Broadly, the concept of a “semantic argument” over banned books was popularized and regularly advanced by DeSantis as a response to Florida laws enabling parents to “challenge” books by filling out a brief document and requesting the material be removed “from the total environment.”
In other words, Florida parents were inarguably granted the ability to unilaterally insist a book be removed “from the total environment” — but describing the removal of a book or film as a “ban” was a “hoax.”
More broadly, DeSantis’ narrative about “the book ban hoax” and applications of that logical resembled the “No True Scotsman” logical fallacy:
In this form of faulty reasoning one’s belief is rendered unfalsifiable because no matter how compelling the evidence is, one simply shifts the goalposts so that it wouldn’t apply to a supposedly ‘true’ example. This kind of post-rationalization is a way of avoiding valid criticisms of one’s argument.
Example: Angus declares that Scotsmen do not put sugar on their porridge, to which Lachlan points out that he is a Scotsman and puts sugar on his porridge. Furious, like a true Scot, Angus yells that no true Scotsman sugars his porridge.
Fact Checks, and When Is a Book Ban Not a Book Ban?
Clearly, DeSantis crafted messaging to ensure that discourse about books in Florida would immediately merge with his ongoing claims about a “book ban hoax.”
On May 25 2023, a Reddit user shared a post about Gorman’s book to r/nottheonion. Some commenters insisted in response that the book’s removal was “not a ban”:
That post linked to (and once shared a title with) an Associated Press article, “Amanda Gorman’s poem for Biden’s inauguration banned by Florida school.” Its URL hinted at a headline revision: apnews.com/article/amanda-gorman-inauguration-poem-banned-florida-9d3b83da51515b8961cfebd441f9a851.
As of June 7 2023, the article’s title differed slightly — “Amanda Gorman’s poem for Biden’s inauguration barred for younger children by Florida school.”
A version of the AP article archived on May 24 2023 displayed the original title, “Amanda Gorman’s poem for Biden’s inauguration banned by Florida school,” and a live version of the page bore no indication the headline had been amended at all, much less annotation about when and why the edit was done to begin with.
On May 27 2023, a post to r/politics (“Did a Florida School Ban Amanda Gorman’s Poem, ‘The Hill We Climb’?”) linked to an article that purported to fact-check whether Gorman’s book had been banned:
So, if I’m understanding this, the claim is: The book isn’t banned, it’s just unavailable to almost all kids in that system’s elementary schools.
In other words, it’s officially prohibited from most elementary school children.
If only there was some shorter word we could use to describe something that’s officially prohibited…
Comments under that tweet raised objections similar to those on Reddit:
“this seems to really gloss over the fact that yes these elementary level books were removed from the elementary.”
“Snopes usually does better … For younger students it was effectively banned. The poem was not permitted for all ages. On the up side, maybe because of your “debunking,” more students, parents, and citizens at large will learn about how the aging up tactic achieves the purpose of book banners.”
“This is shady. I have to assume the middle school section is segregated from the elementary section for a reason. Most likely, because elementary students are not permitted to read or check those books out … I suspect the elementary students aren’t allowed even if they wanted.”
“Banned from k-5. Banned.”
A commenter on another tweet about the page remarked:
“Garbage fact check. They moved it to the middle school area and now elementary school kids have to ask permission AND prove their reading level to access it. It’s a ban in everything but name. Do better.”
Conflicting details of the story did not serve to clarify anything. A May 27 2023 tweet by the author of the Snopes page asserted the book “remains accessible to all students,” conflicting with a May 23 2023 tweet from Miami-Dade schools confirming that the book had been restricted:
Further, the published page was not a “fact check,” as it lacked a truth rating.
A May 24 2023 CNN.com article reported that “Florida has used [a Florida law that requires the approval of books] and other ‘parental rights’ laws to ban works on LGBTQ issues, social justice and even math textbooks,” before quoting a contradictory statement attributed to a spokesperson for Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
Gorman mentioned an “elementary school” in her May 23 2023 statement, clearly saying that her book was banned from one. A statement from the district inadvertently confirmed her claim, indicating the book was removed entirely from an elementary school and placed “in the middle school section”:
In a statement to CNN Tuesday evening [May 23 2023], Miami-Dade County Public Schools spokesperson Elmo Lugo said, “No literature (books or poem) has been banned or removed.”
“It was determined at the school that ‘The Hill We Climb’ is better suited for middle school students and, it was shelved in the middle school section of the media center. The book remains available in the media center,” he said.
Subsequent “fact checks” about Gorman’s writing and Miami-Dade schools emerged over the course of weeks, frequently inserting irrelevant details to arrive at a “false” rating. On May 30 2023, CNN’s “Fact check: Ron DeSantis on Amanda Gorman poem being pulled from a Florida elementary school library” reported that Gov. Ron DeSantis did not personally remove Gorman’s book — an assertion we encountered for the first and only time in the CNN piece in question.
An oddly consistent and repetitive flow of “fact checks” followed. On May 31 2023, LeadStories.com published “Fact Check: Poet Amanda Gorman’s Book Was NOT Restricted In More Than One Elementary School In Florida County,” expanding the radius outside of “an elementary school” in order to mark the titular claim false.
We saw no iterations claiming that “more than one school” had banned Gorman’s book. In Gorman’s statement (transcribed above), she explicitly said her book had been “been banned from an elementary school in Miami-Dade County, Florida.”
Another May 31 2023 fact check originated with PolitiFact.com, “‘Miami-Dade County has banned’ Amanda Gorman’s poem ‘from elementary schools.'” It rated the exact same post LeadStories.com examined, wringing a “mostly false” rating out from the carefully curated example:
An Instagram post claimed that Miami-Dade County banned Gorman’s poem from elementary schools.
There was no countywide effort to remove this poem. A single school, after a parent complained, decided to move the poem to its library’s middle-school section. Some younger students can still access the poem if they can show they read at a fifth grade level; access for others is restricted.
The statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False.
In the body of the fact check, PolitiFact.com noted they conducted the fact check after it was “flagged” by Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram:
The Instagram post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
FactCheck.org waded into the controversy fairly late, publishing “A Florida School Restricted Access to Amanda Gorman’s Poem, But Didn’t ‘Ban’ It” on June 5 2023. FactCheck.org examined the same specific post analyzed by LeadStories.com and PolitiFact (initially flagged by Facebook/Meta).
Once again, that fact check expanded the scope of the claim to 158 schools in order to mark it false. Gorman’s statement explicitly identified “an elementary school in Miami-Dade County, Florida”:
Posts on social media began to spread the misleading claim that Miami-Dade County had “banned” Amanda Gorman’s poem from all 158 elementary schools in the county.
“FLORIDA FASCISM. Miami-Dade County has banned the poem read by Amanda Gorman during President Biden’s inauguration from elementary schools following the objection of a single parent,” read a post on Instagram, which was shared by comedian D.L. Hughley.
The posts exaggerate the action taken in Florida. The poem was not “banned” or restricted at all elementary schools in the county. Access to the poem was restricted in one school to students in the upper grades.
On June 6 2023, USAToday.com published “Amanda Gorman’s book restricted in one school, not banned county-wide | Fact check,” continuing the pattern. It focused on the exact same iteration flagged by Meta and previously “debunked” by LeadStories.com, PolitiFact, and FactCheck.org, despite the fact that myriad versions of the claim remained in circulation.
USAToday.com’s attempt to debunk the post included a detail that the post in question received “900 likes,” a figure on the very low end of engagement for a purportedly viral post. The fact check began:
The claim: Miami-Dade County banned Amanda Gorman’s book, ‘The Hill We Climb,’ from elementary schools
A May 26  Instagram post (direct link, archive link) features an image of poet Amanda Gorman.
“FLORIDA FASCISM,” reads text within the post. “Miami-Dade County has banned the poem read by Amanda Gorman during President Biden’s inauguration from elementary schools following the objection of a single parent.”
The post garnered more than 900 likes in a week. Similar versions of the claim have been shared on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and numerous websites.
Once again, the conditionally “false” rating was based on information typically absent from discourse about Gorman’s book. Alongside a “false” rating, the outlet clarified the book remained “accessible to some elementary school students upon request”:
Our rating: False
Gorman’s book wasn’t banned from all elementary schools in Miami-Dade County. It was moved to the middle school library at one K-8 school, where it is still accessible to some elementary school students upon request.
We were unable to locate any fact checks examining the actual claim in Gorman’s statement — that The Hill We Climb was “banned from an elementary school in Miami-Dade County, Florida.”
Which brings us to the following question:
Was Amanda Gorman’s Book Banned at an Elementary School in Miami-Dade County, Florida?
Book bans were frequently in the news in 2023 (due in large part to new laws in Florida), and on May 23 2023, we published a fact check about a PEN America analysis of book bans.
In it, we referenced a lawsuit involving PEN America, filed in response to multiple book bans in the state of Florida:
PEN America’s involvement with the escalating push to ban books was not limited to tracking them via spreadsheet and monitoring literary censorship. On May 17 2023, WTVD-TV reported that the group had signed on with publisher Penguin Random House in a lawsuit against a Florida school district.
On June 6 2023, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel published an editorial, “The far right wants to set classroom policy, and Florida is letting them.” Unlike the above-quoted fact checks, the editorial lamented the Florida “adopting thinly veiled excuses to ban books.”
In the editorial, its author addressed a different scope than the fact checks linked above. While those widened the scope to rate the claim false, the editorial detailed the scope of books restricted by Daily Salinas, the woman reportedly linked to far-right activists who insisted that the school remove Gorman’s The Hill We Climb “from the total environment”:
The [Miami-Dade County elementary] school claims it’s not censorship or book banning, instead referring to it as “aging-up” the content so only middle school students have access. Gorman eloquently disagrees.
What else has [complaint author Daily] Salinas’ sole campaign removed from bookshelves? “The ABCs of Black History,” a picture book that Common Sense Media deems most appropriate for 8-year-olds, is now restricted to middle schoolers. There’s no word yet if they’ll need to go behind a curtain to view content celebrating W.E.B. Du Bois, Fannie Lou Hamer and The Little Rock Nine.
When you’re on a roll, you keep pushing the winning streak. With so much acceptance and commitment to censorship, Bob Graham Education Center gave Salinas a blank check to ditch any books she deemed “woke.” [Daily Salinas has] also gotten “Love to Langston,” celebrating the life of one of America’s most beloved poets, Langston Hughes, out of classrooms. Stories about his love of travel and desire to build a career as an author are too “divisive” for her liking.
On May 24 2023, PEN America issued a press release, “Florida School District Pulls Amanda Gorman’s Widely-praised ‘The Hill We Climb’ From Library.” Its headline accurately described the claim made by Gorman in her statement — indicating that one (1) Florida district had removed Gorman’s book from one (1) library.
PEN America went on to accurately and specifically describe the scope of the controversy in a statement that ought to have been included in the spate of “mostly false” fact checks. It explained:
… Several other books, including The ABCs of Black History, were moved to the media center’s middle school shelves, also due to filed complaints by one parent [Daily Salinas]. Gorman’s The Hill We Climb is the text of her inaugural poem.
PEN America issued the following statement:
“The Hill We Climb was widely praised after Amanda Gorman read it at President Biden’s inauguration. [As of May 24 2023], access to the book has been limited for elementary students at a school in Florida based on the complaint of a single parent. Depriving students of exemplary literary works flies in the face of our basic constitutional freedoms. Black authors and books about race have been disproportionately affected by the sweep of book bans across the country documented by PEN America in the last year and a half.
Immediately thereafter, PEN America explicitly identified the action as a “book ban,” explaining:
“The book may remain available to middle school students, but when you restrict or diminish access to a book, that’s a ban. Moving The Hill We Climb to middle school shelves means elementary students can’t or won’t get it; their access has diminished.”
On May 25 2023, the Florida Freedom to Read Project tweeted about the ban on Gorman’s book, stating that the “basis” for the book challenge was “full of inaccuracies and mischaracterizations”:
On June 2 2023, PEN America tweeted about how to “ban a book and pretend you’re not”:
That tweet retweeted a thread published by PEN America’s Director of Free Expression & Education Programs, Jonathan Friedman. It began:
Friedman’s thread pinpointed all the relevant details discarded in favor of “fact checks” on the meaning of the word “ban.” In fact, Friedman’s Twitter thread was the closest thing to a “fact check” we encountered on the subject, and it read in its entirety:
Just to be clear: the Miami Dade district that claims @TheAmandaGorman’s The Hill We Climb hasn’t been banned & is accessible to all students… has also clarified (when you read the fine print) that students must pass a reading test to read it. /1
Librarians will tell you: this is an impediment to students’ voluntary inquiry. The decision to place it on a middle school shelf isn’t just for guidance as to age-related content. It is to bar students from freely picking it up. This makes the lack of a clear basis for … /2
that decision all the more problematic. This was not the decision of librarians/educators who put the book in the school as a primary source in the first place. This was a reaction to an outlandish complaint, in the midst of extreme pressure to restrict books about racism /3
Now, instead of teachers being able to encourage, say a 4th or 5th grade student to read the book, they have to pass through this hoop. Students need to find a librarian and ask permission. And, what, the librarian is going to proctor a reading test for any student on the fly? /4
So The Hill We Climb hasn’t just been moved to a different section like any old ho-hum re-shelving– it’s been deliberately moved out of a place where a younger student would pick it up to a place where they’re formally barred from doing so as easily /5
And what if a parent just wants their 4th grader to read it? Are they allowed to do so? What if a kid wants to engage in aspirational reading– as in, reading above their level? Is that ok? /6
The school seems to want to have it both ways, insisting that they restricted the book to be responsive to one parent’s complaint… insisting, in the face of national outcry, that the book is still as accessible to all as it was before. Based on their own statements, it’s not.
Friedman was correct, and demonstrably so. In their May 23 2023 tweet, Miami-Dade Schools stated the book was moved to “the middle grades collection,” with no reason given for the censorship.
On June 4 2023, PEN America tweeted again about a clarification to the Snopes piece, explaining the hurdles placed around the book:
ICYMI: A June 2 update from @snopes highlights Washington Post reporting that the ban on @TheAmandaGorman ’s book was not simply moving it to another shelf, but created new hurdles to impede elementary schoolers’ access to Gorman’s inspirational work.
In a reply to a Heritage operative, PEN America tweeted a screenshot describing restrictions placed on the book — also known as a “ban”:
Embeds of the screenshot were partially obscured. Its text read:
According to Ana Rhodes, a spokesperson for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the school staff moved the book from the elementary school section of the media center to the middle school section. To read the book, an elementary school student would now have to request it from a media specialist and prove that they read at the fifth-grade level, which is the book’s reading level, according to the book’s readability rating.
Otherwise, the students’ access to the book is restricted.
“Otherwise, the students’ access to the book is restricted.”
On May 23 2023, poet Amanda Gorman explained that due to “one parent’s complaint,” her inaugural poem, The Hill We Climb, “has been banned from an elementary school in Miami-Dade County, Florida.” Gorman’s book was challenged not long after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) issued a March 8 2023 statement alleging that Florida schools had been targeted by a “book ban hoax.” Gorman’s tweet and references to it were flooded with users mounting a campaign to shift focus from the banning of Gorman’s book to the definition of a “book ban.” The effort appeared to have worked, evidenced by altered headlines and non-matching URLs.
On May 24 2023, the first of several “fact checks” about the claim appeared, and it described claims that Gorman’s book was banned at a Florida school as “a wave of misinformation.” A slow, spaced-out trickle of nearly identical “fact checks” followed, injecting small details absent from the primary claim — that Gorman’s book was banned at one Florida elementary school. These “fact checks” often quoted the district’s confirmation it banned Gorman’s book, neatly reiterating the district’s claim censorship of the book was “not a ban.”
Broadly, it appeared no one really questioned whether Amanda Gorman’s book was banned at one Florida elementary school in the first place. Rather, the application of the words “ban” and “banned” took center stage to the exclusion of nearly all relevant details. Almost every single “fact check” we found bizarrely predicated their analysis on one specific meme with very low engagement, 900 likes in total. However, Gorman’s claim that her book had been banned in one Florida school was the most direct with respect to the controversy.
As Amanda Gorman correctly stated on May 23 2023, one parent filed a complaint about The Hill We Climb, and that parent falsely believed Oprah Winfrey authored the book. An attached complaint form indicated that the parent (Daily Salinas) demanded the district “Remove the challenged material from the total environment.” According to statements to the media, the district complied by removing the book and re-shelving it in the “middle school section.” Spokesperson for Miami-Dade County Public Schools Ana Rhodes confirmed to the Washington Post that “school staff moved the book [out of] the elementary school section,” that “an elementary school student would now have to request it from a media specialist and prove that they read at the fifth-grade level,” and that “otherwise, the students’ access to the book is restricted.”
In other words, elementary school students are restricted — banned, one might say — from freely reading a book which was previously accessible to them.