The 1st Amendment, Newseum building
Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Lillian Lowery and Baltimore County Superintendent S Dallas Dance conducted an hour-and-a-half informational session about the Common Core last week in Towson, intended basically to introduce parents and other community members to the Common Core standards in math and language arts.
Questions for the last half of the meeting were to be submitted in writing before the meeting, and panelists, including the two superintendents, would provide answers. But one reporter for the Examiner said her two questions weren’t really addressed: Dr Dance changed the questions before he answered them, she claims, in order to softball them for public consumption.
As parents were also becoming increasingly annoyed with school officials feigning answers, tempers rose. One gentleman, identified later as Robert Small, a parent of two students in Maryland’s public schools, demanded answers to his questions. But he was out of order, since his question was spoken, not written, the Baltimore Sun noted.
His insistence caused school officials to send an off-duty Baltimore County police officer, dressed in plain clothes as a security guard, over to escort him out of the room. When he refused to go, the officer, who displayed a badge to inform Mr Small that he was indeed a sworn peace officer, took him by the arm and dragged him out of the room.
As the two moved toward the back of the room, a video of the exchange shows the police officer shoving Mr Small, knocking him slightly off balance. Mr Small eventually exited the room and was arrested by police, charged with second-degree assault of a police officer, which carries a fine of $2,500 and up to 10 years in prison, and disturbing a school operation, which carries a fine of $2,500 and up to six months.
It’s my opinion that Mr Small wasn’t acting violently or disturbing any school operation—this wasn’t a school operation but an open forum. In addition, Mr Small didn’t assault the police officer; the police officer assaulted him, but I don’t know if the charge stemmed from the few minutes we can see in the video.
The non-response from school officials at this meeting, including the state’s highest school official, is staggering. Their silence, amid protests from several members of the audience, is strong evidence that school officials are unwilling to share information about what students learn when community members have expressed an interest in that information by attending an open public forum.
But my opinion really doesn’t mean anything. See for yourself. Ann Miller, the Examiner reporter on the scene, shot a video. On YouTube, it has gone viral, perhaps thanks to the mention by Glenn Beck Monday morning. The video Ms Miller shot is available here.