Majority oppose arresting parents whose protests interrupt school board meetings - 135 participants

May 17, 2014

When we send our children off to school, we assume that for the most part the education they receive conforms to generally accepted—either implied or written—societal rules of moral decency. If such rules are crossed in some way, however, parents are apt to voice such displeasure at a school board meeting, which is precisely what William Baer did in Gilford recently. In this case, however, the term ‘displeasure’ may be inadequate, as the media reported Baer was arrested for going over his allotted two minutes and instead engaging in a loud conversation with another parent. Bair’s protest stemmed from his daughter’s assignment to read “Nineteen Minutes,” a book by Jodi Picoult with a scene of sexual violence. On May 17, Citizens Count, NH’s Live Free or Die Alliance decided to put the issue to its Facebook members, posting the question, “Do you think it is okay to arrest parents whose protests interrupt school board meetings?”

“Do you think it is okay to arrest parents whose protests interrupt school board meetings?”

Results: Yes or No Respondents

School Board Protest Arrests NH Citizen Voices Chart

Participation: 135 participants gave 518 responses

A total of 74% of those participating gave a ‘yes or no’ response to the question. The remaining 26% of participants engaged in the discussion but did not give a ‘yes or no’ response. In total, 135 individuals from New Hampshire contributed a total of 518 responses or reactions to this question. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said:

No: A strong majority, at 77% of ‘yes or no’ respondents, did not think it was okay to arrest parents whose protests interrupt school board meetings. 

  • “This father is entitled to a sufficient and satisfactory explanation to his concerns, and he wasn't getting it. Two minutes is hardly ample time to question something so serious."

Yes: The minority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 23%, thought it was okay to arrest parents whose protests interrupt school board meetings. 

  • “If he wanted to create change and have time to speak, he should have scheduled a meeting with the superintendent. He was showboating, broke the announced rules of order and was arrested.”

Other: As noted above, 26% of those participating did not give a ‘yes or no’ response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:  

  • The subject matter in the book: while some described the passage in the book as “pornographic” in nature, others questioned the rationale behind what effectively amounted to “book burning.”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes. 

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