Remember that kids book that put hardline exiles in a tizzy and made Miami a national laughingstock a few months back?
Otto Zequeria sure does. The journalism adviser at Coral Gables Senior High School is pissed that only two school board members deigned to respond to his letter urging an end to the district's legal wranglings to ban Vamos a Cuba. The letter, supported by about 30 journo teachers at a county-wide student journalism event in November, takes the board to task, stating "It is the responsibility of this school system to vigorously support the First Amendment of the United States and the exercise of these rights."
School board members and the board attorney have for the most part declined comment on the matter in recent months, citing the ongoing litigation. Not so coincidentally, the two board members who responded (positively) to Zequeria's letter, Evelyn Greer and Martin Karp, voted against the ban.
The issue at hand isn't so much about the book itself, said Mary Sullivan, a journalism teacher at Michael Krop Senior High School and the county's representative to the Florida scholastic press association. It's a matter of ensuring that the school board, which has proven itself ignorant of the First Amendment, doesn't make the same mistake twice. "It starts with a small little book," Sullivan said.
Zequeira's letter imagines the possibility of more censorship in schools: "If students' ability to research, explore, read and learn is limited, we will not have the world class school system that our international community deserves."
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Notice he wrote "deserves," not "has." -Rob Jordan