A story that might have slipped under the radar for some caught our eye. It’s part of a frightening trend in the United States.

Amanda Gorman’s inspiring poem “The Hill We Climb,” which she read at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, has been placed on a restricted reading list at a South Florida school after a parental complaint. The poem and books are still available in the media center for middle school-aged children. The book “The ABCs of Black History” also was moved to the middle school.

This isn’t the first literature that’s been banned, especially recently in Florida. We are sure it won’t be the last, but we wish it would be.

PEN America, a 100-year-old organization that advocates for free expression around the globe, reports since 2021, more than 4,000 instances of banned books, including 1,477 individual book bans affecting 874 unique titles during the first half of the 2022-23 school year.

As a newspaper, we stand for free expression for all. It’s important to allow everyone’s ideas, thoughts, feelings and expressions to be available to everyone. It’s how we learn. It’s how we grow. It’s how we improve our lives.

We agree everything isn’t appropriate for every age, as comprehension skills of elementary school children might not be up to snuff for certain topics. But it seems as though that’s the job of educators to determine. They should be much better qualified to determine what age of children can comprehend what topics than anyone else.

We don’t believe in banning or restricting access to literature. Parents who are involved with their children’s education will be aware of what they’re reading and have the freedom to discuss with educators an option to material they believe is offensive, but they don’t have the freedom to make that determination for other people’s children.

Historically, controlling of the media (which includes books and movies) via censorship leads down a dangerous road. A free exchange of ideas is the backbone of a healthy democracy and allows us to better our society by learning from one another. Censorship suppresses ideas and drags our country and our culture backward.

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