A librarian from an elementary school in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, turned down a gift presented to her school by the first lady.
Melania Trump sent those books in celebration of “National Read a Book Day.” Trump sent one of her favorite books, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!,” by Dr. Seuss, along with nine other books.
On National #ReadABookDay I encourage everyone to read a book. Let every page educate you & take you on an exciting journey!— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) September 6, 2017
The Department of Education chose one high-achieving school from every state, to receive a pack of books from President Donald Trump, according to a statement from the White House.
But librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro wasn’t the one to accept them.
After rejecting the gifted books, the librarian wrote an open letter to Trump, slamming him for sending books to the already privileged schools, instead of helping the neglected schools that are deeply affected by failed and damaging education policies, designed by Betsy DeVos.
“Are those kids any less deserving of books simply because of circumstances beyond their control? Why not go out of your way to gift books to underfunded and underprivileged communities that continue to be marginalized and maligned by policies put in place by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos?” Soeiro asked on The Horn Book's Family Reading blog.
She further slammed Trump’s wife for sending her a book that has harmful stereotypes.
"You may not be aware of this, but Dr. Seuss is a bit of a cliche, a tired and worn ambassador for children's literature," she added. "Another fact that many people are unaware of is that Dr. Seuss's illustrations are steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures and harmful stereotypes."
Whether Dr. Suess is a cliché or not is another debate, but Soeiro definitely has a point about DeVos, who has been largely criticized for being unqualified for the position of education secretary.
Many thought librarian was ungrateful for turning down the gesture by Trump. However, many parents stood in solidarity with her stance.
“I think the letter is really articulate, constructive in its suggestions,” said parent Alex Vanpraagh.
However, according to CBS Boston, “The Cambridge school system released a statement saying the librarian 'was not authorized to accept or reject donated books on behalf of the school or school district.'”
“We have counseled the employee on all relevant policies, including the policy against public resources being used for political purposes,” the district stated.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuter, Jonathan Ernst