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Daughter of man arrested for speaking against explicit book: ‘I don’t feel safe’

Daughter of man arrested for speaking against a sexually-explicit book tells school board she no longer feels safe around them.
Daughter of man arrested for speaking against a sexually-explicit book tells school board she no longer feels safe around them.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Marina Baer, the 14-year-old daughter of William Baer, the man arrested after complaining about a sexually-explicit book the New Hampshire school required as reading, told the school board she no longer feels safe around them, BizPac Review reported Thursday.

“I just watched my father get arrested because he broke the two minute rule, at a board of education meeting,” the younger Baer 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 spoke out against “19 Minutes,” a book containing sexually-explicit scenes his daughter was assigned to read.

When Baer confronted the school board Monday, he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for violating a two-minute rule, BizPac Review said, citing an article that no longer exists at the Union Leader. After he spoke, he allegedly got into an argument with another parent. Raw video of the incident can be seen here.

Before the meeting, he told EAG News he learned of the book's content from a friend who visited his home. The content, which appears on page 313 of the book, is too graphic to post here, but can be seen at EAG. Granite Grok also posted an image of the page in question. According to the education watchdog, the book is approved Common Core reading by other schools, including California’s Sobrato High School and the Deer Lakes High School in Pennsylvania.

“I was shocked when I read the passage, and not much shocks me anymore,” Baer told EAG. “My wife was stunned by the increasingly graphic nature of the sexual content of the scene and the imagery it evoked.”

As BizPac Review said, this isn’t a case of an occasional “F” word showing up in “Catcher in the Rye." The excerpt is quite graphic and according to Baer, who happens to be an attorney, could get someone arrested and prosecuted if it were casually handed out to students outside the school.

Making matters worse, the school did not warn parents of the book's content, EAG added. School authorities, however, promised to send a letter to the home “of all students who are currently assigned the book.”

BizPac Review also took the school to task for its heavy-handed treatment of Baer.

"Anyone who’s spent time in the newspaper business has seen public meetings where speakers go over their allotted time, where individuals disagree in the audience and voices get raised on any issue from a road widening project to new school construction," Joe Saunders wrote. "But an actual arrest for speaking out in public is something Americans have frowned on since the Founders established freedom of speech in the very First Amendment of the Bill of Rights."

Moreover, a school official is heard asking the ninth-grade student for her address in the video, something Tom Tillotson characterized as "callous."

"While it’s understandable that this may be normal policy, this was certainly not 'normal' circumstances. That a public official can have such a callous attitude toward a child in light of what just happened is hard to believe," Tillotson said.