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Charges dropped against Maryland parent who spoke against Common Core standards

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The Howard County father whose arrest became a viral web video and a cause celebre of conservative talk radio won't be prosecuted for disrupting a meeting on state education standards.

The Baltimore County state's attorney's office dropped assault charges Monday against Robert Small, who had been led out of the Thursday night meeting in Towson by an off-duty police officer. Small interrupted education officials, complaining that new standards were aimed at sending children to community colleges.

"It was clear that Mr. Small violated the rules of the meeting and disrupted the meeting. It was also clear that the officer acted appropriately and did have probable cause to make an arrest on both charges," the state's attorney's office said in a statement. "In the interest of justice, further prosecution will not accomplish anything more. Therefore, the charges have been dismissed."

Small, 46, has been discussed on Glenn Beck's radio show. Sean Hannity has reached out to him. Two lawyers offered to take his case for free, and people from across the country have sent emails offering help, while others have just written to praise him for standing up at the meeting. Maryland politicians have jumped in to defend Small and discredit the handling of the public meeting.

A relative unknown until Friday, Small's case spread over social media. A YouTube video of him being escorted out of the room by the police officer has been viewed more than 500,000 times.

In fact, it seemed that the only one not talking about it is Small. He gave a brief interview to The Baltimore Sun on Friday but has declined to comment since.

The Ellicott City father of two interrupted a public forum given by the Maryland State Department of Education on Thursday night at the Ridge Ruxton School on Charles Street in Towson. After a lengthy presentation by officials, members of the public were asked to submit their questions in writing. Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance then scanned the pile of questions and picked out ones to be read aloud.

A panel, which included state schools Superintendent Lillian Lowery, then answered the questions.

But Small wasn't satisfied that his question would be answered so he stood and interrupted Dance. He said he believed the new standards would lower expectations for students and that teaching would be aimed at getting students to community colleges rather than Harvard.

After being told, "Let's go," by an officer, Small continued to talk to the parents, saying, "Don't sit there like cattle." A Baltimore County police officer, who was working as a security guard, escorted Small out of the room, arrested him and charged him with assaulting a police officer and disturbing a school activity.

In an interview Friday morning, Small did not criticize the police actions but said he had a First Amendment right to speak. Small graduated from Baltimore County public schools, went on to a community college and got his four-year degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.

He said he is employed by the federal government and his two children attend Howard County public schools.

Many conservatives oppose the implementation of the new Common Core standards on the grounds that it is a federal government intrusion into local school control. Beck and others have talked about the new standards for months.

On his Monday morning radio program, Beck said Small's arrest was "a warning sign to the American people. I believe my job is to tell you the signposts. My job is to tell you how far down this road are you and how much farther do you have to go. Not much."

State Del. Patrick L. McDonough characterized as "outrageous" the failure of education officials to give Small a chance to speak. The Baltimore County Republican plans to introduce legislation that would put a moratorium on the implementation of the Common Core standards in the county's schools. Del. Ron George, a Republican candidate for governor, said Monday he wants address the common core standards in the next General Assembly session.

"I think education is best handled at the local community level," McDonough said.

Maryland was one of 45 states and the District of Columbia to adopt the Common Core standards, which were written collectively by the National Governors Association and the association of chief state school officers. The Common Core is not a federal requirement, but the Obama administration offered financial incentives to states that implemented the standards.

The state has trained 7,000 teachers for three summers in a row in the standards, and local school systems have been writing their own curriculum or lesson plans that align with the new standards.

All school systems in Maryland were required to begin teaching to the standards this school year.

Harford County Executive David R. Craig, a Republican candidate for governor, said Monday that he does not support the Common Core because he believes what is taught should be left up to classroom teachers. The former teacher and administrator said he believes the new standards are no better than what was required by the state under No Child Left Behind and that he is opposed to the amount of testing that would be required.

He also expressed concern about the way Thursday night's meeting was handled by education officials. In his many years of overseeing public meetings as a Harford County official, he said, he never had to have someone arrested, even when members of the public were upset and angry. "We always respect the people. ... Why not let them get up and speak and give their concerns?" he said.

Baltimore County schools spokesman Mychael Dickerson said the system had gotten dozens of comments from the public, either by phone or email.

Officials did not answer questions about whether they believed Small should have been arrested for his behavior at the meeting. But they did send out an email to parents explaining how their children's education would change this year and issued a brief statement to reporters.

"The meeting helped us realize that we must do a better job of communicating what the Common Core is and what it is not," the statement said. "We have to ensure that our parents and community members understand that the Common Core allows us to implement our own curriculum, written by us, for us."

The Baltimore County Police Department, which had been criticized for its handling of the arrest, issued a statement saying that while the department "strongly supports a citizen's right to exercise his or her First Amendment rights, it also recognizes that meeting organizers have the right to establish rules of order."

Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson said in the statement that he will review the incident.

liz.bowie@baltsun.com

source


by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 7:57 AM
Replies (31-40):
yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 10:14 AM
4 moms liked this

 

Quoting krysstizzle:


Quoting yourspecialkid:

 

Quoting krysstizzle:

There is a process to meetings. Otherwise everyone would end up shouting over and around each other, interrupting and nothing would get done. 

He decided to interrupt and not listen to anyone else, so he was escorted out. Not that surprising. 

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 I think it was outrageous that he was not able to speak and appalling that he was manhandled and arrested.  This was a PUBLIC forum about PUBLIC education..as a parent he had a right to be there and a right to be heard.

Common Core is one of the factors in our decision to homeschool.


 You missed the big picture.  This was a public meeting about public education.  It was set up in such a way as to limit what the public wanted to discuss.  Doing so made it a staged meeting about public education. 

I attend public meetings all the time.  I have never been asked to submit questions in writing for them to be chosen from.  A lot of the time the meetings run long because they are answering all the questions.

I don't blame him for what he did.  He was invited to a PUBLIC meeting...not a STAGED one.

 

I seriously doubt that was the only meeting they would ever have. If he wanted to voice his opinion without getting escorted out, he should have waited until the appropriate time. I've been to many public meetings. Sometimes they answer all questions until 3am (controversial rezoning is one that recently went that way), sometimes they limit the number of questions or amount of time someone has to speak, etc, etc. He can't be surprised that he was escorted out when he just stood up and interrupted the whole thing. 

Now, I'm all for free speech and shoot, if the only way you think you can make a point is to stand up and cause a spectacle, go for it. Seriously. I fully support civil disobedience, and I fully support a person's right to ignore the agenda of a public meeting and stand up and interrupt. Some messages I support, some I don't. But don't expect to not suffer any consequences whatsoever. That's just silly.

 This wasn't some meeting about whether or not the city should install new traffic lights.  This was about education and the implementing of a program THIS school year.  They should have been prepared to answer all the questions.  They work for these taxpaying parents and those taxpaying parents have a right to know what is going on with their child's education.

Our district had one meeting, and it wasn't publicized.  About 15 parents showed up so everything was declared all good. 

You can limit the time of the speakers and limit them all to one question.  People are free to leave if their questions have been answered.  If it isn't possible to do it in one meeting, do it in several. 

This district chose to have a staged meeting about the new implementation of the controversial Common Core.  Why would they do that?  It seems the intention was to limit discussion.

 

 

krysstizzle
by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 10:37 AM


Quoting yourspecialkid:

 

Quoting krysstizzle:


Quoting yourspecialkid:

 

Quoting krysstizzle:

There is a process to meetings. Otherwise everyone would end up shouting over and around each other, interrupting and nothing would get done. 

He decided to interrupt and not listen to anyone else, so he was escorted out. Not that surprising. 

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 I think it was outrageous that he was not able to speak and appalling that he was manhandled and arrested.  This was a PUBLIC forum about PUBLIC education..as a parent he had a right to be there and a right to be heard.

Common Core is one of the factors in our decision to homeschool.


 You missed the big picture.  This was a public meeting about public education.  It was set up in such a way as to limit what the public wanted to discuss.  Doing so made it a staged meeting about public education. 

I attend public meetings all the time.  I have never been asked to submit questions in writing for them to be chosen from.  A lot of the time the meetings run long because they are answering all the questions.

I don't blame him for what he did.  He was invited to a PUBLIC meeting...not a STAGED one.

 

I seriously doubt that was the only meeting they would ever have. If he wanted to voice his opinion without getting escorted out, he should have waited until the appropriate time. I've been to many public meetings. Sometimes they answer all questions until 3am (controversial rezoning is one that recently went that way), sometimes they limit the number of questions or amount of time someone has to speak, etc, etc. He can't be surprised that he was escorted out when he just stood up and interrupted the whole thing. 

Now, I'm all for free speech and shoot, if the only way you think you can make a point is to stand up and cause a spectacle, go for it. Seriously. I fully support civil disobedience, and I fully support a person's right to ignore the agenda of a public meeting and stand up and interrupt. Some messages I support, some I don't. But don't expect to not suffer any consequences whatsoever. That's just silly.

 This wasn't some meeting about whether or not the city should install new traffic lights.  This was about education and the implementing of a program THIS school year.  They should have been prepared to answer all the questions.  They work for these taxpaying parents and those taxpaying parents have a right to know what is going on with their child's education.

Our district had one meeting, and it wasn't publicized.  About 15 parents showed up so everything was declared all good. 

You can limit the time of the speakers and limit them all to one question.  People are free to leave if their questions have been answered.  If it isn't possible to do it in one meeting, do it in several. 

This district chose to have a staged meeting about the new implementation of the controversial Common Core.  Why would they do that?  It seems the intention was to limit discussion.

 

 

For actually having his concerns heard, he was lucky there wasn't an open speaking part. He garnered much more attention this way. If there had been an open floor, nothing at all would have happned, I'd wager. 

And I don't know anything about this particular sitution other than what is posted in the OP. If this was the only meeting? If there was any time for other questions at the end? I've no idea. 

Perhaps it's my jaded side speaking, but even if they had left it open for discussion, I seriously doubt they would suddenly decide on a completely abandoning common core. Speaking out at public meetings is great, but it's a bit idealistic to think that one voice at one meeting will change policy. There are ways to do that (sometimes), and it's not one person speaking for their alloted two minutes or what have you. 

I'm not saying I like it or agree with it, but realistically, the best way to change policy is the galvanize and mobilize people, get to the policy makers, and that takes time and effort. 

My entire point is that the way this meeting was set up, it's no surprise at all he was escorted out. He honestly should have expected that. He should be thankful, honestly, otherwise he would have just been one parent at one little meeting in this country, like millions of others. No one would have heard or cared, likely. 

krysstizzle
by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 10:43 AM
1 mom liked this

And ftr: I don't particularly like common core at all. I don't disproportionaly despise it, but it is pushing for more standardization and testing that I disagree with philosophically from an eduction standpoint. Like most things, it's a way for *someone somewhere* to make more money. I'm not sure how much worse it will be than what is happening across the nation now education-wise, however. 


numbr1wmn
by Nikki on Sep. 24, 2013 at 10:49 AM

 

So people should just shut up and not speak up for their kids?

Quoting krysstizzle:

Free speech? There are processes for meetings like this, for a good reason. If everyone behaved as this man did, talking when they felt like it while ignoring everyone else, absolutely nothing would ever get done. It was be a melee of ignorant shouting louder and louder. 

Good grief. 

Quoting candlegal:

What has happened to free speech in this country?    Wow



 

numbr1wmn
by Nikki on Sep. 24, 2013 at 10:51 AM
1 mom liked this

 

They absolutly did this on purpose because they thought people wouldn't do anything about it and boy they were wrong and rightfully so. I am so glad this guy was let go.

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 

Quoting krysstizzle:


Quoting yourspecialkid:

 

Quoting krysstizzle:

There is a process to meetings. Otherwise everyone would end up shouting over and around each other, interrupting and nothing would get done. 

He decided to interrupt and not listen to anyone else, so he was escorted out. Not that surprising. 

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 I think it was outrageous that he was not able to speak and appalling that he was manhandled and arrested.  This was a PUBLIC forum about PUBLIC education..as a parent he had a right to be there and a right to be heard.

Common Core is one of the factors in our decision to homeschool.


 You missed the big picture.  This was a public meeting about public education.  It was set up in such a way as to limit what the public wanted to discuss.  Doing so made it a staged meeting about public education. 

I attend public meetings all the time.  I have never been asked to submit questions in writing for them to be chosen from.  A lot of the time the meetings run long because they are answering all the questions.

I don't blame him for what he did.  He was invited to a PUBLIC meeting...not a STAGED one.

 

I seriously doubt that was the only meeting they would ever have. If he wanted to voice his opinion without getting escorted out, he should have waited until the appropriate time. I've been to many public meetings. Sometimes they answer all questions until 3am (controversial rezoning is one that recently went that way), sometimes they limit the number of questions or amount of time someone has to speak, etc, etc. He can't be surprised that he was escorted out when he just stood up and interrupted the whole thing. 

Now, I'm all for free speech and shoot, if the only way you think you can make a point is to stand up and cause a spectacle, go for it. Seriously. I fully support civil disobedience, and I fully support a person's right to ignore the agenda of a public meeting and stand up and interrupt. Some messages I support, some I don't. But don't expect to not suffer any consequences whatsoever. That's just silly.

 This wasn't some meeting about whether or not the city should install new traffic lights.  This was about education and the implementing of a program THIS school year.  They should have been prepared to answer all the questions.  They work for these taxpaying parents and those taxpaying parents have a right to know what is going on with their child's education.

Our district had one meeting, and it wasn't publicized.  About 15 parents showed up so everything was declared all good. 

You can limit the time of the speakers and limit them all to one question.  People are free to leave if their questions have been answered.  If it isn't possible to do it in one meeting, do it in several. 

This district chose to have a staged meeting about the new implementation of the controversial Common Core.  Why would they do that?  It seems the intention was to limit discussion.

 

 


 

krysstizzle
by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Yes, exactly. /sarcasm

That's not what this reply says or implies, nor what any of my other replies say or imply. 

Quoting numbr1wmn:


So people should just shut up and not speak up for their kids?

Quoting krysstizzle:

Free speech? There are processes for meetings like this, for a good reason. If everyone behaved as this man did, talking when they felt like it while ignoring everyone else, absolutely nothing would ever get done. It was be a melee of ignorant shouting louder and louder. 

Good grief. 

Quoting candlegal:

What has happened to free speech in this country?    Wow





numbr1wmn
by Nikki on Sep. 24, 2013 at 10:53 AM
1 mom liked this

 

SUre sounded like they shouldn't have said anything.  I am glad he did and he had every right!

Quoting krysstizzle:

Yes, exactly. /sarcasm

That's not what this reply says or implies, nor what any of my other replies say or imply. 

Quoting numbr1wmn:

 

So people should just shut up and not speak up for their kids?

Quoting krysstizzle:

Free speech? There are processes for meetings like this, for a good reason. If everyone behaved as this man did, talking when they felt like it while ignoring everyone else, absolutely nothing would ever get done. It was be a melee of ignorant shouting louder and louder. 

Good grief. 

Quoting candlegal:

What has happened to free speech in this country?    Wow


 

 



 

krysstizzle
by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 10:55 AM

*sigh* Reading comprehension. It's not what I said at all. 

He had every right to get escorted out, too. He should have known that. 

Quoting numbr1wmn:


SUre sounded like they shouldn't have said anything.  I am glad he did and he had every right!

Quoting krysstizzle:

Yes, exactly. /sarcasm

That's not what this reply says or implies, nor what any of my other replies say or imply. 

Quoting numbr1wmn:


So people should just shut up and not speak up for their kids?

Quoting krysstizzle:

Free speech? There are processes for meetings like this, for a good reason. If everyone behaved as this man did, talking when they felt like it while ignoring everyone else, absolutely nothing would ever get done. It was be a melee of ignorant shouting louder and louder. 

Good grief. 

Quoting candlegal:

What has happened to free speech in this country?    Wow








numbr1wmn
by Nikki on Sep. 24, 2013 at 10:58 AM

 

*SIGH* Reading comprehension. No he shouldn't have been escorted out.

Free speech? There are processes for meetings like this, for a good reason. If everyone behaved as this man did, talking when they felt like it while ignoring everyone else, absolutely nothing would ever get done. It was be a melee of ignorant shouting louder and louder. 

Good grief. 

^^ Here are your words.  He spoke up and they didn't want him to so he got louder. Maybe they should have heard him out first instead of doing what they did. Hence why I think you meant he should have kept his mouth shut.

Quoting krysstizzle:

*sigh* Reading comprehension. It's not what I said at all. 

He had every right to get escorted out, too. He should have known that. 

Quoting numbr1wmn:

 

SUre sounded like they shouldn't have said anything.  I am glad he did and he had every right!

Quoting krysstizzle:

Yes, exactly. /sarcasm

That's not what this reply says or implies, nor what any of my other replies say or imply. 

Quoting numbr1wmn:

 

So people should just shut up and not speak up for their kids?

Quoting krysstizzle:

Free speech? There are processes for meetings like this, for a good reason. If everyone behaved as this man did, talking when they felt like it while ignoring everyone else, absolutely nothing would ever get done. It was be a melee of ignorant shouting louder and louder. 

Good grief. 

Quoting candlegal:

What has happened to free speech in this country?    Wow


 

 


 

 



 

krysstizzle
by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 11:06 AM
1 mom liked this

I know what the words are, I wrote them. If you read my replies, you'll see you're barking up the wrong tree, here. 

And I stand firmly by this reply. If everyone stood up and talked whenever they felt like it, with no regard whatsoever to the rules of meetings, nothing would ever get accomplished and people would just be shouting over each other. He is not special. He has no more right to stand up and interrupt a meeting than anyone else. He was escorted out because of it. He really shouldn't have been surprised, nor should anyone else. 

Let's pretend, for a minute, there is a public meeting on gun laws. Changes in local ordinances for open and concealed carry. Because of the amount of people, they decide to answer a certain number of questions in an orderly fashion. A woman stands up and interupts, right in the middle of the process, about how evil guns are. She doesn't want anyone around her child with a gun ever. She's going on and on about the need for stricter gun control, no guns should be allowed in any public space. She gets louder and louder as they try to maintain order to answer written questions. 

Would you be on here defending her as vehemently as you are defending this man? For some reason, I have a feeling not. 

But I would say the exact same thing about her as I did about this man. Take my responsed throught this post and apply them to her. They stand.
 

Quoting numbr1wmn:


*SIGH* Reading comprehension. No he shouldn't have been escorted out.

Free speech? There are processes for meetings like this, for a good reason. If everyone behaved as this man did, talking when they felt like it while ignoring everyone else, absolutely nothing would ever get done. It was be a melee of ignorant shouting louder and louder. 

Good grief. 

^^ Here are your words.  He spoke up and they didn't want him to so he got louder. Maybe they should have heard him out first instead of doing what they did. Hence why I think you meant he should have kept his mouth shut.

Quoting krysstizzle:

*sigh* Reading comprehension. It's not what I said at all. 

He had every right to get escorted out, too. He should have known that. 

Quoting numbr1wmn:


SUre sounded like they shouldn't have said anything.  I am glad he did and he had every right!

Quoting krysstizzle:

Yes, exactly. /sarcasm

That's not what this reply says or implies, nor what any of my other replies say or imply. 

Quoting numbr1wmn:


So people should just shut up and not speak up for their kids?

Quoting krysstizzle:

Free speech? There are processes for meetings like this, for a good reason. If everyone behaved as this man did, talking when they felt like it while ignoring everyone else, absolutely nothing would ever get done. It was be a melee of ignorant shouting louder and louder. 

Good grief. 

Quoting candlegal:

What has happened to free speech in this country?    Wow











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