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American Civil Liberties Union of Florida v. Miami-Dade County School Board

557 F.3d 1177 (2009)

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American Civil Liberties Union of Florida v. Miami-Dade County School Board

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

557 F.3d 1177 (2009)

Facts

A series of children’s books that provided basic information about other countries was offered in the nonfiction sections of public-school libraries of the Miami-Dade County School Board (school board) (defendant). The father of an elementary-school student filed a request to have the series book about Cuba removed from the shelves of the public libraries due to factual inaccuracies. The father spoke with the elementary school’s principal, who denied the request. The father submitted a formal request to the school district’s committee, which denied the request. The father appealed the committee’s decision to the school district superintendent, who submitted the appeal to the school-district committee. The committee evaluated the book based on educational significance, appropriateness, and accuracy, then voted to recommend that the superintendent retain the book in the public libraries. The superintendent adopted the committee’s recommendation. The father appealed the superintendent’s decision to the school board. At its next meeting, the school board took up the appeal, heard comments from community members, and voted to remove the book from public-school libraries due to its inaccuracies and omissions. The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and a student-government association (plaintiffs) filed suit against the school board in the district court and claimed that the school board violated their members’ rights to freedom of speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The district court enjoined the school board from enforcing its removal order. The school board appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Carnes, J.)

Dissent (Wilson, J.)

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