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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 (41-50):
SEEKEROFSHELLS
by Platinum Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 11:10 AM
2 moms liked this

 There was a post in this group about a Common Core worksheet, and they had pimp in it, and some other questionable content. It was a 4th grade assignment. I have some doubts about the common sense of the teachers, and the curriculum to put Po Pimp on a worksheet. Before someone comes in here, and says it was the name of a rap song,.....They could of used another song by the rapper. Some of this stuff is ridiculous.


Quoting candlegal:

I wonder how many people will still be saying what a great thing common core is 10 years from now.



LAHnTAH0812
by Bronze Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 11:33 AM
1 mom liked this
a revolution is imminent, maybe tomorrow, maybe in 10 years. I don't know why people act like the US is above these things that have happened all over the world.


Quoting candlegal:

I hope so.  I wonder what it will take to finally get people to the point where they say enough is enough.   We are turning into a police state.

Quoting -Kris-:

I hope he sues as well. I'm glad the charges were dropped, but a lawsuit would make a statement that this won't be tolerated.  

Quoting candlegal:

So do I.   Since when can a security guard arrest a citizen for asking questions?   Talk about turning into a police state.

Quoting Carpy:

I hope he sues.





lga1965
by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 11:37 AM

 I think there is MORE to this....the guy and the arrest is being reported by a Conservative group and something tells me it is slanted in favor of him. My first thought is "Does this guy have a college degree in EDUCATION?". I would think he would be more credible if he did.

Did he cause a disruption that wasn't appropriate, not just behaving as a parent who was supposedly concerned with Common Core?

Are we reading this thread because the writer of the thread thinks that Public Schools are "Government Run Indoctrination Camps" ?

I just have a lot of questions about this whole issue. And I bet I won't get answers.

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


 

impostagothkat
by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 11:42 AM
2 moms liked this

So what was I saying earlier aout CC being bad? Now this man got arrested because they didn't like what he had to say. Red flags anyone, but yall keep sleeping its cool.

SewingMamaLele
by Leanne on Sep. 24, 2013 at 12:01 PM
2 moms liked this
Watch the video. There are people yelling to let the man ask his question, and a woman stands up against the security guard who is pushing the guy around. It looks pretty straight forward to me.


What does it matter if his degree is in education, or if he even has a degree at all? Since when do you need teaching credentials to be concerned about your Childs education?


Quoting lga1965:

 I think there is MORE to this....the guy and the arrest is being reported by a Conservative group and something tells me it is slanted in favor of him. My first thought is "Does this guy have a college degree in EDUCATION?". I would think he would be more credible if he did.


Did he cause a disruption that wasn't appropriate, not just behaving as a parent who was supposedly concerned with Common Core?


Are we reading this thread because the writer of the thread thinks that Public Schools are "Government Run Indoctrination Camps" ?


I just have a lot of questions about this whole issue. And I bet I won't get answers.


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




 

lga1965
by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 12:39 PM

 Why does he feel he KNOWS anything substantial about Common Core? That is why I mentioned a degree. I am amazed at the know-nothing people who complain about Public Schools , the Curriculum, and teachers when they have no real knowledge. Cetainly I know that No Child Left Behind devised about 10 years ago was a huge mistake (and our county schools rejected it years ago, opted out ). But Common Core is an effort to return to the standard, basic education policies and curriculum of the past as far as we know. If there are questions, ask your local school officials.

Until the ordinary citizen/parent really KNOWS what they are talking about, they should just meet quietly , one on one,with school heads,principals, teachers and ask questions and discuss issues in a civilized way. Yelling at meetings does nothing except make the person who is yelling look like a jerk.

Quoting SewingMamaLele:

Watch the video. There are people yelling to let the man ask his question, and a woman stands up against the security guard who is pushing the guy around. It looks pretty straight forward to me.


What does it matter if his degree is in education, or if he even has a degree at all? Since when do you need teaching credentials to be concerned about your Childs education?


Quoting lga1965:

 I think there is MORE to this....the guy and the arrest is being reported by a Conservative group and something tells me it is slanted in favor of him. My first thought is "Does this guy have a college degree in EDUCATION?". I would think he would be more credible if he did.


Did he cause a disruption that wasn't appropriate, not just behaving as a parent who was supposedly concerned with Common Core?


Are we reading this thread because the writer of the thread thinks that Public Schools are "Government Run Indoctrination Camps" ?


I just have a lot of questions about this whole issue. And I bet I won't get answers.


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




 

 

candlegal
by Judy on Sep. 24, 2013 at 1:45 PM
2 moms liked this

Don't even bother, she knows all.   She refuses to believe it because she said it from a conservative website.  Tells me she didn't go to it.  It was from the local news station where it all happened.

Quoting SewingMamaLele:

Watch the video. There are people yelling to let the man ask his question, and a woman stands up against the security guard who is pushing the guy around. It looks pretty straight forward to me.


What does it matter if his degree is in education, or if he even has a degree at all? Since when do you need teaching credentials to be concerned about your Childs education?


Quoting lga1965:

 I think there is MORE to this....the guy and the arrest is being reported by a Conservative group and something tells me it is slanted in favor of him. My first thought is "Does this guy have a college degree in EDUCATION?". I would think he would be more credible if he did.


Did he cause a disruption that wasn't appropriate, not just behaving as a parent who was supposedly concerned with Common Core?


Are we reading this thread because the writer of the thread thinks that Public Schools are "Government Run Indoctrination Camps" ?


I just have a lot of questions about this whole issue. And I bet I won't get answers.


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




 


SewingMamaLele
by Leanne on Sep. 24, 2013 at 1:47 PM
4 moms liked this
You need a degree in education to read and understand the standards? I don't think so.

This man wasn't yelling, he was asking a question. A question the other parents at the meeting cheered for and wanted to hear the answer to. I would say he handled himself well considering he was being physically assaulted by the security guy.

This meeting was about common core, he was asking a question about common core... That seems the appropriate place. He shouldn't need to meet "quietly one on one "when they put together this meeting to discuss the topic.


Quoting lga1965:

 Why does he feel he KNOWS anything substantial about Common Core? That is why I mentioned a degree. I am amazed at the know-nothing people who complain about Public Schools , the Curriculum, and teachers when they have no real knowledge. Cetainly I know that No Child Left Behind devised about 10 years ago was a huge mistake (and our county schools rejected it years ago, opted out ). But Common Core is an effort to return to the standard, basic education policies and curriculum of the past as far as we know. If there are questions, ask your local school officials.


Until the ordinary citizen/parent really KNOWS what they are talking about, they should just meet quietly , one on one,with school heads,principals, teachers and ask questions and discuss issues in a civilized way. Yelling at meetings does nothing except make the person who is yelling look like a jerk.


Quoting SewingMamaLele:

Watch the video. There are people yelling to let the man ask his question, and a woman stands up against the security guard who is pushing the guy around. It looks pretty straight forward to me.


What does it matter if his degree is in education, or if he even has a degree at all? Since when do you need teaching credentials to be concerned about your Childs education?



Quoting lga1965:


 I think there is MORE to this....the guy and the arrest is being reported by a Conservative group and something tells me it is slanted in favor of him. My first thought is "Does this guy have a college degree in EDUCATION?". I would think he would be more credible if he did.



Did he cause a disruption that wasn't appropriate, not just behaving as a parent who was supposedly concerned with Common Core?



Are we reading this thread because the writer of the thread thinks that Public Schools are "Government Run Indoctrination Camps" ?



I just have a lot of questions about this whole issue. And I bet I won't get answers.



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






 


 

greenie63
by Silver Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 2:30 PM

I live in Towson, not far from Ridge Ruxton. I wanted to attend the meeting but was sick, but glad I didn't go after seeing the local news when it happened. 

I think it's too early to make a verdict about Common Core to be honest. 

FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Sep. 24, 2013 at 2:34 PM
2 moms liked this

Free speech does not include taking it upon yourself to disrupt any given aspect of life without the possibility of consequences.

I can certainly see why they are not furthering this case.  

Hopefully this man realizes there is another way to be heard that may very well benefit him.  Unless, of course, he enjoys 15 mins of fame.

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