NH book challenge leads to arrest.
From the Christian Science Monitor:
A New Hampshire resident was handcuffed and led out of a school board meeting on May 5 after he protested the fact that his ninth-grade daughter was assigned the novel “Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult.
According to police, Gilford father William Baer “spoke out of order,” said Lt. James Leach. “Someone else was given the floor and was speaking. He interrupted them and continued after being asked to stop. He was then asked to leave and refused to leave unless he was arrested, so he was arrested.”
Considering the amount of press he's getting out of this, that he was told he'd be arrested if he didn't stop disrupting the meeting, and that he TOLD THE ARRESTING OFFICER TO ARREST HIM, it sounds to me like getting arrested is EXACTLY what he wanted. So the shock/horror/dismay he has been exhibiting in interviews comes off as a tad disingenuous.
"It was basically, you make a statement, say what you want and sit down," he said. "Sit down and shut up, basically, and that's not how you interact with adults."
Baer said he believes what happened at the meeting was a violation of his First Amendment rights. The board said it imposed the two-minute rule to give everyone a chance to be heard, but Baer refused to stop when his time was up.
Enforcing the rules of order at a public meeting? Is not a violation of someone's First Amendment rights. I suspect that if he'd been in the audience, listening to someone go on and on and on—especially if it was someone he disagreed with—that he'd have been ALL ABOUT enforcing the rules of order.
The school department sent 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, Chair of the Gilford School Board.
Two more notes:
1. Boo on CBS for this headline: Father Arrested For Protesting Racy Novel At NH High School. By calling it a 'Racy Novel', CBS, you are making a value judgment about the story, not just reporting it.
2. I've read the passage in question—according to WMUR, it's on page 313—and while it showcases the words "erection", "pumping", and "semen", it doesn't come close to reading like "...the transcript for a triple-X-rated movie". IN FACT—and keep in mind that as I haven't read the book, I read it out of context—it reads as pretty damn rapey to me. At the VERY LEAST, while it is certainly a depiction of sex, it doesn't come close to being titillating.
All of that is beside the point, though, as judging a 455-page book on less than a page of text isn't helpful, reasonable, or intellectually honest.