A dad was taken into custody at, of all places, a school board meeting. He says his crime was complaining about a book assigned in his 14-year-old daughter's English class.
William Baer was handcuffed after voicing his concern from his seat in the audience.
He asked authorities, “What are you charging me with?”
They replied, “Disorderly conduct!”
Confused, he asked, “Disorderly conduct?”
It happened in Gilford, New Hampshire—The Live Free Or Die state.
The book in question is Nineteen Minutes by bestselling novelist Jodi Picoult. It's about a school massacre and includes scenes of bullying and graphic sex. Several parents at the meeting complained that they should have been warned about the book’s sometimes graphic content.
Baer looked baffled when he was told he was under arrest for violating a two minute speaking limit.
He said, “I'm not resisting. Let's not play games. I'm not resisting.”
After watching her father taken away in handcuffs, his teenage daughter, Maria, marched into the meeting and addressed the board.
She said, “This just shows that you resort to force at the first turn of conflict and I am appalled. So, I don't trust you. I haven't. And I honestly don't feel safe around you people.”
Baer, a lawyer, told INSIDE EDITION he was outraged over his arrest, saying, “ Now, they're prosecuting me for disorderly conduct because I opened my mouth. The message is very clear. The message from the school board to parents is 'shut up.' That's the message.”
The video of his arrest is going viral. The school board isn’t commenting, but author Jodi Picoult weighed in 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.”
Baer says he just wants a say in the books his daughter is made to read in school.
The school board apologized for failing to send home prior notice of the assignment of the novel.