The father of both of 2nd grader and a 6th grader who attend Howard County schools in Maryland was arrested this fall for speaking out against Common Core standards at a Department of Education meeting. While trying to ask questions, Robert Small, who is a research manager for the Department of Veterans Affairs, was confronted by an off-duty police officer hired to provide security. The confrontation that resulted can be seen on video. Mr. Small was forcibly escorted from the podium and charged with second-degree assault of a police officer, which can lead to a $2,500 fine and ten years in prison. He was also charged with “disturbing a school operation,” which carried another fine and jail time. Fortunately the state’s attorney dismissed the charges against Mr. Small.
The purpose of the meeting was to explain Common Core standards being implemented in Maryland schools. The format allowed parents to submit written questions, which were then read aloud by the school superintendent, with answer provided by a panel. But parents complained that the superintendent was changing the wording of the questions they submitted, which resulted in answers that failed to address the parents’ concerns.
Mr. Small spoke to some parents afterwards and said, “I was manhandled and shut down because I asked inconvenient questions. Why won’t they allow an open forum where there can be debate? We are told to sit there and be lectured about how great Common Core is.” I’m curious to know if anything like this has happened in your state.
Listen to the radio commentary here: