WILLIAM BAER, FATHER OF TEENAGED GIRL ARRESTED FOR CONDEMNING 'SCHOOL PORN'
NWV News Writer Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
May 14, 2014
© 2014 NewsWithViews.com
A father who took an active role in the education of his 14-year-old daughter was both shocked and disgusted when he was removed by force from a school board meeting in a New Hampshire school for merely voicing his opinion about a school assignment that included material he found grossly inappropriate for a young student.
A successful lawyer originally from New Jersey who grew up in the Bronx, N.Y., William Baer, Esq., decided that enough-was-enough when he discovered his child’s assignment was to read a book that contained material he found age-inappropriate, he told NewsWithViews.com during an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
The book, Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, book contains not only sexual encounters between young teens, but it also describes in detail sex crimes, and mental abuse with a giant helping of a descriptive murder spree in a school.
In one part of the book, the characters engage in sexual conduct that can only be labeled sexual abuse at best, out-and-out rape at worst, although the reader, presumably an impressionable child, is never told such behavior is deviant or even criminal.
Baer had attended the school board meeting to tell the educators that they should have given more thought to assigning reading material that crosses the line separating literature from pornography, or they at least should have alerted the parents of the children assigned to reading Nineteen Minutes. What Baer found troubling was the fact that in the past his daughter's school, Gilford High School in Gilford, New Hampshire, did just that when faced with assigning questionable material.
During the school board meeting -- a meeting specifically called to address the controversy of the book assignment -- several parents wished to voice their thoughts and opinions about the arguably hardcore pornography thrust into the faces of their children. Baer, a practiced attorney and public speaker simply wished to read some of the objectionable paragraphs from the book their educators wished the students to read.
When Baer attempted to read the material from the book itself, members of the school board refused to allow him to do so because he was violating the two-minute rule for parents and others to speak directly to the board members.
"Be respectful of the other people!" one school board member was heard shouting, according to Baer and a video of the proceedings.
Baer replied, "Like you’re respectful of my daughter, right?"
Baer, who moved to New Hampshire from New Jersey, noted that his wife was beyond shocked to discover her daughter's reading assignment entailed perusing a novel with such graphic sexual content.
"Based on what I've seen in television news coverage of the incident, Mr. Baer faced a room full of lightweights who felt compelled to shut down a debate with an obviously astute attorney, so they decided to 'shut him down' using a police officer as a bouncer," said political strategist Mike Baker.
It was Baer who organized the parents to go before the school board to voice their concerns and protest what was viewed as usurping their parental authority by school bureaucrats and dues-paying unionized teachers.
"I told [the school superintendent Kent Hemingway] that my daughter had the book for a week and I was never notified about the books graphic contents [nor did the school] asked for my permission to read it," said Baer.
"[Hemingway] said it was merely an oversight because the book has been used in the school's reading list since it came out in 2007. I explained that I felt I should have gotten a notice where I could have opted-out from my daughter having to read the book."
"So, I went to the meeting to complain that the school [officials] never gave me an opportunity to say 'NO' to my daughter being assigned to read such a book that I consider pornographic," Baer stated.
During the heated exchange between Baer and the school board, a police officer came on the scene and immediately removed Baer from the meeting room and handcuffed him.
The officer, who was actually the acting police chief James Leach, appeared to be nervous, according to Mr. Baer, who believes Leach was uncomfortable with his role as the school board’s bouncer.
Upon seeing her father, a respected officer of the court, being manhandled by Leach, Baer's daughter spoke her mind before the school board and those attending the meeting.
"I just watched my father get arrested because he broke the two minute rule at a Board of Education Meeting. This just shows that you resort to force at the first turn of conflict and I'm appalled," Marina Baer said.
A New Hampshire blogger claims the two minute rule was created specifically for the porn book meeting.
"As I understand it, parents/taxpayers/residents are typically afforded more time to speak so this seems to have been a new policy, created for this meeting, to limit parent’s time to express their outrage over the inclusion of sexually explicit material in the school curriculum."
However, after preventing Mr. Baer from expressing his thoughts -- a clear First Amendment issue -- Hemingway and the board chairwomen Sue Allen defended the book claiming it was important because it explicitly explores a bullying, date rapes, sexual and physical abuse, as well as school shootings.
While Allen issued an apology to parents -- "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." -- she failed to apologize for having a parent, William Baer, treated like a common criminal in front of his teenaged daughter."
"What's most diabolical on the part of the so-called educators, they defended their book choice by claiming it addresses the problem of bullying, and yet when faced with a verbal confrontation regarding their reading selection, they resorted to bullying using 'color of the law' to do it," Mike Baker said.
As the incident became a nationally-covered news story, letters and emails began showing tremendous support for William Baer and his voluntary work of exposing what many believe is an example of what’s gone wrong in government schools and curricula.
For example, in a “letter to the editor” published in the Laconia Daily Sun on May 9, one reader, Jim McCoole, said, “Obviously, any charges against Mr. Baer will be thrown out of court, even by the most incompetent judge. In America, school board chairmen are not kings. In monarchies, where kings rule, the people serve the king. That's the way they do things there. However, here in America, all government officials serve the people. That's how we do things here.”
McCoole didn’t hold back on his criticism of the police officer involved in the politburo school board meeting either. “[T]he policeman involved, Lt. James Leach, [the acting chief] of the Gilford Police Department, should be ashamed of himself for arresting a fellow citizen who was simply exercising his rights. You didn't uphold the law, [sic] mister, and you didn't protect the rights of anybody. You symbolically violated the rights of every citizen in this country who has ever been arrested trying to exercise their right to redress their grievances. I shudder to imagine what you might do, or what might happen if an over-zealous Army general were to issue an illegal order to you, demanding that you shoot unarmed protesters that might be disobeying some arbitrary ruling by a power-hungry politician.”
To read about the book Nineteen Minutes click here.
© 2014 NWV - All Rights Reserved