Dad arrested for complaining about girl's school assignment

GILFORD, N.H. - A New Hampshire father is in trouble with the law after he complained to school board members about a book his 14-year-old daughter was assigned to read for school, CBS Boston reported.

"This is stunning that this is what it takes to get arrested," said William Baer.

Baer's daughter was assigned to read "Nineteen Minutes," by Jodi Picoult, for her Gilford High School English class. School officials have said it has important themes, and its defenders say it's thought-provoking and appropriate for the ninth graders who've read it there for years.

There is some controversial material in the book, including a sex scene.

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

He took his concerns to a school board meeting. When he exceeded the allotted two minutes for public comments, he was told to stop talking. When he refused, he was arrested.

"We went into the police station, went through the booking process, and I sat there like a criminal," said Baer.

The school department sent CBS station WBZ a statement explaining it has revised its policy for letting parents know about books being read.

"The district will take immediate action to revise these policies to include notification that requires parents to accept controversial material rather than opt out. Furthermore, the notification will detail more specifically the controversial material," wrote Sue Allen, chairwoman of the Gilford School Board.

Gilford's acting police chief, Lt. James Leach, said he had no choice but to arrest Baer.

"There were repeated attempts to ask him to stop,". Leach said. "I asked him to leave. He refused. He said, 'Arrest me or I'm not going to'... so I did."

Baer was charged with disorderly conduct. If convicted, he could be fined up to $1,200.

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.