Thursday, June 07, 2007

Vamos a Cuba

Remember the book controversy over "Vamos a Cuba"? A year ago Judge Gold ruled that the School Board violated the First Amendment in banning the book. The Eleventh Circuit heard argument. From the AP:

In the hearing on Wednesday, Senior Circuit Judge Donald Walter, outlining a hypothetical situation, asked ACLU attorney JoNel Newman whether it would be acceptable to remove a book about Adolph Hitler that failed to mention the Holocaust.
"The political reality in Cuba is not what the book is about," Newman said, arguing the book about Cuba focused on daily life on the island, not Castro. "The school board can't remove it because it wishes to inject a political message into it."
Overruling the decision of two academic advisory committees and the county school superintendent, board members voted last year to remove the book after a parent who spent time as political prisoner in Cuba complained. Critics of the book say it does not mention Cuba's alleged lack of civil liberties, the political indoctrination of public school children, food rationing and forced child labor.
"These books are rife with factual omissions, misrepresentations and inaccuracies," said Richard Ovelmen, the school board's attorney.
The move was contested in federal court, with the judge ruling last summer that the board's opposition was political, and the issue would best be addressed by expanding the collection instead of removing books espousing views with which the board did not agree.
Circuit Judge Ed Carnes noted that "there's a difference in enormity" between the Holocaust and actions by Castro's government, but that Walter's hypothetical addressed the "omission of facts."
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 the daily life of Cuban children, the book says they work, study and play the same way children in other countries do.
Walter and Carnes both took issue with that premise.
"That's simply not true," Carnes said.
Carnes also presented his own hypothetical, asking Newman if a book about North Korea could be pulled from shelves because it failed to mention problems in that communist government.
Newman said such political discussions should not be required for books for elementary students.
The court did not indicate when it would rule.


Anonymous said...

who was the third judge on the panel?

Anonymous said...

did markus the egomaniac once get a beating at the hands of kasternakes? this might explain all the anger at him on this otherwise staid blog

Anonymous said...

I think Judge Wilson.