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New Hampshire dad arrested for protesting assigned book's sex scene

William Baer said he was alarmed when his 14-year-old daughter was assigned a book containing a sex scene between two teenagers.
By Kate Stanton   |   May 6, 2014 at 8:31 PM   |   Comments

GILFORD, N.H., May 6 (UPI) -- William Baer, of Gilford, N.H., was handcuffed at a school board meeting on Monday when he continued to protest his 14-year-old daughter's assigned reading, a best-selling Jodi Picoult novel.

19 Minutes revolves around a school shooting and bullying, but some parents specifically objected to a one-page sex scene between two teenagers.

Baer, who continued to speak after his allotted two minutes, said Gilford High School never asked for his approval.

“It reads like a transcript for a triple-X porno movie,” he told CBS New York. “We had no notice of it whatsoever, no written notice, no verbal, nothing.”

The school board apologized in a statement, noting that officials had forgotten to send out notifications because the book has been on the curriculum since 2007.

"The board apologizes for the discomfort of those impacted and for the failure of the School District to send home prior notice of assignment of the novel," said Chairman Sue Allen. "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."

Some parents said they appreciated the novel's thought-provoking content.

“Did that page, 3-whatever is referenced to make my daughters feel uncomfortable. I hope so. I hope so. It brought up conversation,” another parent, Joe Redding, told WCVB. “That page of the book is not relevant to the topic of the whole entire book.”

Picoult, a New Hampshire native, has been following the controversy on Twitter.

"Another parent is challenging #19Minutes bc it contains a sex scene far more vague than anything on TV. Sad to focus on that & not bullying," she wrote last week.

She also retweeted several supportive messages from Twitter users.





In one tweet, the Gilford Public Library said all copies of 19 Minutes had been checked out.

Follow @KateStan and @UPI on Twitter.
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