Father Arrested at Common Core Forum, Faces 10 Years in Jail


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Parent Robert Small being removed by security guard from meeting about common core.

Parent Robert Small being removed by security guard from meeting about common core. Screenshot from Ann Miller’s video taken by Arthur Weinreb

At a public forum on curriculum changes, held last Thursday in Towson, Maryland, a father who was questioning the proposed changes was removed by a security guard who was an off-duty Baltimore County police officer.

Robert Small, 46, was charged with second-degree assault on the officer although his removal, caught on video, shows nothing that would constitute an assault.

Public Forum Held to Discuss Common Core

Changes to the school curriculum, known as the Common Core, are about to be implemented in 45 states and the District of Columbia. The Common Core State Standards provide standards for levels of knowledge for pupils – the creators of the standards intend to make school subjects standardized, and relevant in the real world.

Many parents are opposed to the Common Core and opposition is growing. Some do not like it because it reduces the amount of English literature their children will study and they feel their kids end up being less prepared for higher learning. Others do not like the Common Core because they view it as a federal government takeover of the education system.

Parent Robert Small Did Not Follow Meeting’s Format

The format of the meeting called for those in the audience who had questions to write them down on a piece of paper. Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance, who chaired the meeting, would then read the question and one of the panel members would attempt to answer it. But Small, a parent who has two children attending school in Baltimore County, ignored the format, stood up, and began speaking while Dallas was talking.

Dance then told him his question would be answered but Small kept speaking. He was then approached by a security guard.

The guard said, “Let’s go, let’s go,” but Small continued to speak. The guard took out a badge attached to a chain inside his shirt that identified him as a Baltimore County police officer. He was off-duty at the time. The officer eventually pushed Small out the door and handcuffed him. Small was later charged with second-degree assault.

The incident, beginning when Small first stood up and ending when he was pushed out the door by the officer, was filmed on video and later uploaded to YouTube. At no time does it appear Small did anything that would constitute an assault on the security guard/police officer.

Assault in the State of Maryland

In Maryland, Section 3-202 of the 2010 Maryland Code defines first-degree assault as when a person intentionally causes or attempts to cause “serious physical injury” to another person; any assault committed with a firearm constitutes first-degree assault.

Second-degree assault is one that causes physical injury to a person rather than “serious” physical injury. It also includes placing another person in reasonable imminent fear of bodily harm.

A second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

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