A YouTube video went viral over the weekend showing a parent who got violently arrested for expressing his frustrations about the implementation of the Common Core at a public forum Thursday night in the suburbs of Baltimore.
Somehow, Ellicott City parent Robert Small was then charged with assaulting a police officer in the second degree, reports The Baltimore Sun.
Small stood up out of order during a question-and-answer forum held by the Maryland State Department of Education. He interrupted Dallas Dance, the Baltimore County School Superintendent. Small explained — calmly, though not particularly fluidly — his belief that the Common Core lowers standards of education for children in the district.
“You are not preparing them for Harvard,” he said.
The irate parent, who has a sixth-grader and a second-grader in Howard County, Md. schools, asserted that the new curriculum will only prepare students for community college.
This fall, for the first time, 45 states and the District of Columbia have begun implementing the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which attempts to standardize various K-12 curricula around the country.
Criticism of the Common Core has risen sharply. Opposition has brought together conservatives who stand athwart a federal takeover of public education and leftists who deplore ever-more standardized testing.
The plan for the question-and-answer forum was for attendees to write their questions down on pieces of paper. Then, Dance and the Maryland State Superintendent of Schools, Lillian Lowery, would answer them.
After Small spoke for perhaps a few minutes, a security guard confronted him. A police report alleges that Small tried to push the guard away when the guard initially confronted him.
The video does not appear to show Small pushing the guard.
“Let’s go. Let’s go,” the security guard said.
“Let him ask his question,” someone yelled.
To audible gasps, the guard then pulled the 46-year-old father aggressively in the direction of the aisle.
As the guard escorted Small out of the forum, Small said “Don’t stand for this. You are sitting here like cattle.” Then he asked, “Is this America?”
According to The Sun, Small was then handcuffed and forced to sit on the curb outside until police showed up to take him to a local police station. He was finally released around 3 a.m.
The charge against Small, second-degree assault of a police officer, carries a maximum fine of $2,500 and a prison term of up to 10 years. Another charge, disturbing a school operation, carries a $2,500 fine and six months in prison.
“Look, I am being manhandled and shut down because I asked inconvenient questions,” Small told The Sun on Friday. “Why won’t they allow an open forum where there can be a debate? We are told to sit there and be lectured to about how great Common Core is.”
Small added that he himself attended a community college before transferring to the University of Maryland, College Park to finish his bachelor’s degree.
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