Wednesday, 07 May 2014

Father Arrested While Protesting "Porno" Novel Assigned to 9th-Grade Class

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A Gilford, New Hampshire, man was arrested at a school board meeting Monday night after vigorously objecting to a sexually graphic novel his 14-year-old daughter and her 9th grade classmates were assigned to read without parental notification.

William Baer continued making his impassioned objection to the book, Nineteen Minutes, after he had used up his allotted two minutes during a public comments segment of a school board meeting. He continued while being admonished to cease, including being told to desist "out of respect for the others" who wished to speak.

"Yeah, like you showed respect for my daughter?" Baer countered. Lt. James Leach, the town's acting police chief, approached Baer and motioned for him to leave.

"You're going to arrest me because I violated the two-minute rule?" Baer asked. "I guess you're going to have to arrest me then." The officer then took hold of Baer by the wrist and led him out of the room into to a corridor where he was handcuffed and then led through the parking and into a police cruiser.

"I asked him to leave," Leach told WBZ-TV in Boston. "He said 'Arrest me or I'm not going to.'... So I did." Baer was charged with disorderly conduct and is due in court in June.

Here is a YouTube video of the incident:

The incident has sparked nationwide attention to Baer's arrest and the book that was the subject of his anger at school officials. Towhall.com Wednesday published brief excerpts from the book's graphic descriptions of a sexual encounter.

"I was shocked when I read the passage, and not much shocks me anymore," Baer told EAGnews.org, the website of the Education Action Group, a non-profit based in Michigan with the stated goal of "promoting sensible education reform." Baer said his wife was "stunned by the increasingly graphic nature of the sexual content of the scene and the imagery it evoked."

Baer, a lawyer, said if someone had been handing that kind of material to youngsters outside of school they could be arrested for distributing obscene materials to children.

"It reads like a transcript for a triple-x porno movie," he said. "We had no notice of it whatsoever, no written notice, no verbal, nothing."

"I am utterly appalled that this book was in my son's hands," another parent, Sarah Carrigan, told the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Superintendent Kent Hemingway told Townhall.com that the school district had been assigning the novel to students since 2007 and there had not, to his knowledge, been previous complaints. School officials said notification about the book had been sent to parents in previous years, but it was not done this year due to an oversight. The school board issued an apology "for the discomfort of those impacted and for the failure of the school district to send home prior notice of assignment of the novel." The school board did not apologize, however, for the book being used as part of the 9th grade curriculum to begin with.