You see, he was alarmed when a friend visiting his home picked up a book that had been assigned as reading material for his 14-year-old daughter. When Baer took a closer look, he found graphic sexual content. The book, Nineteen Minutes, by popular young adult author, Jodi Picoult, has as its theme a school shooting and a behind-the-scenes look at the shooter, who has been bullied in high school.
I'm not exactly sure why Ms. Picoult felt that the use of teenage porn would help illustrate this difficult sociological topic. As an example, (and I'm sorry if the following passage offends you, but it is necessary to illustrate the degenerate minds that would assign such a book to high school freshmen), the text contains such explicit language as "Semen, sticky and hot, pooled on the carpet beneath her." It was excerpts such as this that offended Mr. Baer, and why, as a responsible parent, he rose to speak at that school board meeting.
“I was shocked when I read the passage and not much shocks me anymore,” William Baer told local news outlets. “My wife was stunned by the increasingly graphic nature of the sexual content of the scene and the imagery it evoked.” When Baer voiced his objections to the book, the School Board asked him to sit down and be respectful of other people. “Like you’re respectful of my daughter, right? And my children?” he countered. He was then informed that he had violated the two-minute rule for speaking and a police officer was called in, and he was arrested for disorderly conduct. School district officials said they normally send out notifications to parents before assigning the controversial book, but forgot to do so this time. How convenient!
I have to agree with this outraged father ... how do parents control what their children are exposed to? “Many people in education and government truly believe our children are theirs,” William Baer said. “That parents are only the custodians who feed them and put a roof over their head. These school incidents are a byproduct of this ‘we know best’ philosophy. They believe they have the authority to do this. If people were more complacent, which is hard to imagine, it’d be even worse.”
And that's the problem. Too many parents are complacent, satisfied and uninvolved in their children's education. I am aware of the popularity of Ms. Picoult's books, but was surprised when I went to Amazon to read the reviews of this particular book. The reviews were all by adults, who seemed to get some kind of titillation from the subject matter, and, I suspect, the graphic language. Of the 1,049 reviews of the book (which is considerable), over half of the people gave it the highest score, with comments like this: "A 5 star book that has pissed off the right wing . Look folks, teenagers have sex. If you haven't had that talk already by 14.. Well your doing the parenting all wrong.. Your raising future adults."
To this reviewer, I would say, "Yes, sex has become a huge part of our teenagers' culture... but that's not a good thing, nor acceptable to me. Furthermore, it is the parent that should decide if their child is emotionally and psychologically ready for such gratuitous language ... not a federally-funded government entity." Just based on what I understand about the book, I tend to agree with those who gave the book a score of 1. One comment was, "Not appropriate book for kids, Actually could be written without any sexual explicit scenes in it and would still be a good book. Once again "literature" is following the trash that is put on the television. Don't need a sex scene to sell a book". Another read, "If this is ok for 14-year-old students to read in public school, then I don't know what the world is coming to!" Perhaps the most honest comment was this: "Every parent should be able to censor what their children are exposed to without the fear of being arrested by the state. Enough said, this isn't 1930's Germany, or is it?"
One of the reviews quoted the entire passage from which I pulled the above obscene excerpt. I will spare you the debauchery. I was furious! It read like trashy adult pornography! Ms. Picoult may be a successful teenage author, but I question whether she is a healthy choice for the children of our nation. I applaud her desire to explore the social dynamics of our culture, but I question if she is truly trying to help young people, or writing to sell to voyeuristic adults. Either way, I find her inclusion of inappropriate sexual content to be a copout and a device to sell more books.
But back to Mr. Baer's saga. It did not end with his arrest and posting of a $700 bail. His 14-year-old daughter, Marina, was present when her father was forcefully removed from the school board meeting, and courageously spoke out, "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 am appalled. So I don’t trust you ... I honestly don’t feel safe around you people."
The Gilford, New Hampshire School Board later apologized for the “discomfort” the controversial book assignment caused and vowed to allow parents to “accept” material rather than “opt out.” How about taking an ethical and moral stance and not even considering such material?
This is the way Ms. Picoult's own website describes Nineteen Minutes: Rich with psychological and social insight; a riveting, poignant, and thought-provoking novel. Does that describe what teenagers are looking for in a novel? Or is it designed to tantalize the depraved and perverse adult who appears to be a big buyer of her novels?
I applaud William and Marina Baer for taking a bold stance. This kind of book is not suitable reading material for 14-year-olds. We must speak up and never cower from the mounting resistance of a Godless system.
2 Corinthians 12:21 "I fear that when I come again my God may humble Me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced."