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Dad's Arrest Brings Attention to School's Assignment Choice

Have you read all the books on your child's reading list? We're guessing, that unless you read them in school yourself, the odds are low. So when a potentially controversial book is added to your son or daughter's reading list, how do you take action? Do you read it, do you go to the administration?

A high school in GIlford, N.H., is facing some criticism after a father was arrested for speaking out of turn. William Baer was upset at what some might describe as pornographic material portrayed in the book. He didn't want his daughter reading it.

The book in question is Nineteen Minutes, a Jodi Picoult novel about a small fictitious town in New Hampshire where bullying escalated into a tragic school shooting. The book has been on the teachers' potential reading list for seven years now, but has only been assigned three times.

In the past, the school notified parents before students were assigned the book. This time around, however, the school assigned the book without notifying parents first. Alternate books are available to students, if they feel uncomfortable, but some parents were outwardly disturbed at the choice and aired their grievances at a Monday School Board meeting.

While some parents are upset about the selection, others appreciate it. One father noted, “It opens the door to discussion. The more discussion, the better," according to the Concord (N.H.) Monitor.

The school has taken the feedback to heart and has acknowledged that changes will be made about how they present controversial topics to parents and students in the future.

How would you react as a parent if your child was assigned a book about a school shooting?

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