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  1. #1
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    Father arrested for disorderly conduct at School Board meeting

    oops! Make that disorder conduct - not contact - sheesh!

    I saw a snippet last night on TV and did some searching - does anyone find this as appalling as I do? I read 19 Minutes and enjoyed the book enough that I kept it - so I had to search out the page the father was referring to - and I have to agree- the sexual content is pretty strong for 14-year-olds. The book was not written as a Young Adult book but rather as an adult book - but what is really disturbing is the way the School Board handled this father and his dissenting opinion - to me anyway. Anyone have any thoughts on this? I'd love to hear them!

    Last Thursday, Mr. Baer sent me an e-mail about a book his daughter was assigned to read by her teacher with the full and complete approval of the Gilford School Board. He wrote that he was stunned, even as a veteran prosecutor in one of the toughest cities in the country, by what was assigned to his 14-year-old daughter for her ninth grade Honor’s English class, and attached a scanned copy of one page from the book for my perusal. Having over a quarter century of investigative experience myself, I’m no prude in reading graphic text. Regardless, I would never have knowingly permitted my child to read what he sent, even if it was part of a school assignment sanctioned by the school board.

    Upon closer scrutiny of the book, Nineteen Minutes by author Jodi Picoult, Mr. Baer saw that it was a fictional account of a school shooting in New Hampshire that lasted for 19 minutes (hence the title) that contains explicit and graphic sexual material, (See Below) along with arguably controversial messages about homicide and yes, gun violence. Despite its inclusion on the New York Times best seller list, any ordinary parent of reasonable sensibilities would certainly question why such a book was selected as required reading for a ninth-grade Honor’s English class.

    After doing his own homework, Mr. Baer followed a logical approach to learn why the book was assigned without his consent, and to be proactive, for he was not about to allow his daughter to be subjected to this subject matter, at least not in this fashion. He first contacted the high school principal, who declined to formally meet with him in order to find a suitable remedy to this issue. After being effectively deferred and deflected at every turn, Mr. Baer was left with attempting to remedy the situation by attending the school board meeting to publicly address this issue.

    It was as if it was made impossible for Mr. Baer to be given any remedy to clear this matter up, except by attending the school board meeting that would convene the following Monday. It is here—at this exact point— that people must pay attention to how events were being managed behind the scenes.

    According to information obtained by this author, the Gilford, New Hampshire school board was alerted in advance to Mr. Baer’s intention to raise this issue at their normal Monday meeting. In anticipation of Mr. Baer’s attendance, they did a number of things they have not done in the past.

    First, they stationed a Gilford Municipal police officer inside the meeting venue “to keep order.” Then, they limited all public comments to two minutes only, and refused to answer any questions of the attendees. Ostensibly, this was done because of the multitudes of those present to speak out against the book, yet not more than a few dozen people were actually present. Also, the number who actually wished to speak remained in the single digits, including Mr. Baer. Accordingly, any sensible person would question the rationale behind such an arbitrary policy instituted for this particular meeting.
    No dissent permitted

    The critical back-story, then, indicates that the school board not just anticipated Mr. Baer’s attendance, but took very precise steps to make certain that his objections would be muted and otherwise dealt with in a manner that has been inconsistent with previous public meetings. It would appear that dissent about the book as an assignment in an ninth grade honors class was not merely expected, but the response to such dissent was decided in advance.


    More at link:

    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/62941
    Last edited by cinsbythesea; 05-08-2014 at 11:39 AM.
    This too shall pass

  2. #2
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    Interesting... on one hand, shouldn't every parent be more supportive of public schools, and not causing trouble ? The public schools have a hard enough job as it is ; but they do that job well.
    On the other hand, I'm not sure Mr. Baer isn't entitled to his own opinion...isn't there an alternate book his daughter could read ? He didn't seem out-of-control or dangerous---to me.
    moo

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by LietKynes View Post
    Interesting... on one hand, shouldn't every parent be more supportive of public schools, and not causing trouble ? The public schools have a hard enough job as it is ; but they do that job well.
    On the other hand, I'm not sure Mr. Baer isn't entitled to his own opinion...isn't there an alternate book his daughter could read ? He didn't seem out-of-control or dangerous---to me.
    moo
    Disagreeing with part of a curriculum, is not causing trouble. Thinking a mistake is being made, does not mean he doesn't support the school. Parents should be advocates for their children's education. IF they have a problem, they have every right to speak up for their children. Schools very often don't listen to the parents who care. Parents are now having to fight, to even have an opinion.

    And, look at our country. They public schools don't do their job well. There are lots of great educators out there, but the school system is systematically failing our children. Good for this father, for paying attention and supporting his child's education. He did nothing that warranted an arrest. If they didn't like his behavior, they could have asked him to leave and escorted him out. Arresting him was absurd, and a great example of how badly our schools and boards are run.

  4. #4
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    That to me seemed to be the issue- there was no room for alternative anything- it seemed the parents were simply allowed to speak and have their say - but that no further input was given by the Board- they simply listened and offered no input at the end and certainly, in my opinion, didn't seem to be taking into consideration the complaints of the concerned parents. At the very least, it seems something should have been sent home for the parents to let them know their children were being assigned to read a book that may have some content in it that they may find concerning - i.e. the rather graphic sexual content that troubled this particular father. I'm awfully glad my kids are not grown and out of the school system!
    This too shall pass

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue22 View Post
    Good for this father, for paying attention and supporting his child's education. He did nothing that warranted an arrest. If they didn't like his behavior, they could have asked him to leave and escorted him out. Arresting him was absurd, and a great example of how badly our schools and boards are run.
    RSBM

    I did think the arrest was a bit much. There are countless youtube vids of people out of control, but Mr. Baer was not one of them.
    If I were on the school board, I'd have let him have his say. A bit rude on the part of that school, imo.

  6. #6
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    Parents have a right to speak up and that book is completely inappropriate for a high schooler. IT is graphic.

    He had a right to speak and be heard. I would gladly be arrested for standing up for something to make sure my kids were getting an appropriate education.

    And at the very very least the parents should have been made aware, told of the passages and then given veto power.

    the kids don't need to read this book to get into college. They could have picked something better and more appropriate.
    Atticus Finch: “You never really understand a person . . . until you consider things from his point of view.” To Kill A Mockingbird

    All my posts are my opinion only.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LietKynes View Post
    RSBM

    I did think the arrest was a bit much. There are countless youtube vids of people out of control, but Mr. Baer was not one of them.
    If I were on the school board, I'd have let him have his say. A bit rude on the part of that school, imo.
    I read your comment wrong. I thought you said he wasn't entitled to his opinion. Lol...sorry.

  8. #8
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    keeponsearching is offline The mighty Oak was once a little nut that stood its ground.
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    I am not of fan of Jodi's. Her books drain me of any life that I have left after crying miserable during the hours of reading her book. I won't read anymore of hers, I am just not a fan at being sad from a book, and depressed for days.

    Why couldn't someone write the opposite of this book, how someone finally helped the boy being bullied and the poor girl got help. Oh wait that probably isn't as interesting, but I am sure Jodi could twist the end, the helpful students were really aliens from a planet far far away. That is her thing, end plot twist, oh yeah.

    I think the dad just wanted the information before hand, which they had done in the pass. But they wouldn't answer him, and that seem ridiculous.

    If this book was my kids reading material I wouldn't have a problem, but I hope the material changes before they reach middle school. I just think there are better books to read in school. That is all

  9. #9
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    Boy, times have changed....
    I grew up in the olden days of "The Brady Bunch" and "Little House on the Prairie".
    LOL I know that 'dates' me !
    We had no internet, facebook, or any social media --- how did we survive ????
    I remember reading all of C.S. Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia" in 3rd grade. They were my fav. books.
    In 4th through 6th grades, my younger sister and I were fans of "Nancy Drew" and the "Black Stallion" series.

    Took a look at the excerpt of Picaults' book in question and I agree with Baer that it is not age-appropriate.
    Why didn't the school just allow the kids to choose another book ? There are some great books out there for 9th grade ; and the kids need positive reading --- especially in this age of cyber bullying , etc.
    moo
    Last edited by LietKynes; 05-08-2014 at 01:55 PM. Reason: corrected

  10. #10
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    I haven't read the book, only the passage provided in the linked article above.
    I don't have a problem with it for an honors class. People have sex. I'd hope by the 9th grade., honors students would be aware of that fact.




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  11. #11
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    Well, I have a huge problem with this. The book is not appropriate for 14 year olds (honor student or not) and I would not be happy if it was assigned reading for my child. This whole situation is just stupid.

  12. #12
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    But the story was not whether the father is wrong or right in his objections. That is debatable and subjective depending on each of our own viewpoints.

    The point of this news story to me is that this father was thwarted in his very reasonable attempts to relay and convey his concerned about this assignment given his daughter. Whether his concerns are well founded or not is not the issue for me. The issue is should a parent have some recourse, remedy or means to make their concerns known to school admin?

    It sounds to me like this fella tried like heck to figure out the appropriate process to address this matter and a lot of buck passing made this a mess.

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlcya View Post
    But the story was not whether the father is wrong or right in his objections. That is debatable and subjective depending on each of our own viewpoints.

    The point of this news story to me is that this father was thwarted in his very reasonable attempts to relay and convey his concerned about this assignment given his daughter. Whether his concerns are well founded or not is not the issue for me. The issue is should a parent have some recourse, remedy or means to make their concerns known to school admin?

    It sounds to me like this fella tried like heck to figure out the appropriate process to address this matter and a lot of buck passing made this a mess.

    IMO Its his daughter. He could have simply sent a note to his daughters' teacher stating she wouldn't be reading that book. Period. End of it.

    The dad was making a mountain out of a mole hill. It's a free public education. If he doesn't like the way things are being run, there are many options.

    All IMO


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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by angela View Post
    Well, I have a huge problem with this. The book is not appropriate for 14 year olds (honor student or not) and I would not be happy if it was assigned reading for my child. This whole situation is just stupid.

    Personally, I think assigned reading is stupid at that age. Let them read what personally interests them. God forbid they enjoy reading or the joy of selecting their own material.


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  15. #15
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    This whole thing was pretty much orchestrated and planned ahead of time, imo.

    William Baer is a Tea Party activist who is/was active in the Morristown (New Jersey) Tea Party. He is has very close associations with wnd and like them is a birther. They sometimes quote him in their hateful articles. Apparently he and his family moved to Gilford nine months to a year ago. With the birther stuff now a non-topic I think they are all moving on to topics related to schools and education. One of the groups to keep an eye on, imo, is the Education Action Group Foundation, which I believe was the first to carry this Gilford story. Is Baer associated with them? I think he might be.

    It appears to me that Baer took advantage of the fact that the school or the school district had neglected to send a letter home to the parents of the students in the honors class that assigned the book that they could either opt in or out or whatever.

    The Gilford school has been assigning the book since it came out in 2007. Thats about 7 years ago. No prior complaints? Why now? Its an honors class. If Baer doesn't want his daughter to read such things, that's his prerogative but why act like a juvenile delinquent about it? The school committed an oversight and now he wants them to be the reason to get rid of public schools for evryone everywhere?


    The following article talks very specifically about William Baer:

    http://newjerseyhills.com/observer-t....html?mode=jqm

    "Last week’s program was coordinated by attorney William Baer of Harding Township and Dan Haggerty of Randolph. They both also co-host the “Baer-Haggerty Offensive,” a radio show on the Patriot’s Watch program on WNJC 1360AM radio."

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