Dad Arrested for Asking Questions During School Meeting
byKaitlin StanfordSep 24, 2013
Let's face it: Most school board meetings are pretty boring and uneventful. Budgets are announced, new policies are approved ... the audience of parents is more or less just there to observe.
But that's exactly the kind of non-participatory format that led one dad in Ellicott City, Md., to stand up and speak out last Thursday night. Frustrated over changing curriculum that he believes is setting the bar way too low for students, dad Robert Small interrupted Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance as he was speaking. His question may have come during the question-and-answer portion during the meeting, but that didn't seem to matter: He broke the rules. Parents were supposed to jot down their questions on a piece of paper for them to be read aloud—they weren't supposed to go and do a crazy thing like actually stand up and challenge the school board members face-to-face.
When Small stood up, he admitted that he knew he was speaking out of turn, but said he had an important question for parents, and asked how many of them were aware that the changes in the curriculum were actually putting their kids at a disadvantage, preparing them for community college rather than full-fledged universities.
While the panel of school board members didn't exactly like that phrasing, Small is not alone in his opinions. The Baltimore Sun reports that he's just one of many parents who are growing angry over their changing curriculum–which actually affects 45 states nationwide—and what they perceive to be an overall lowering of educational standards.
But Smalls's display of opposition Thursday night led to a pretty heated scene, when a security guard approached and forcibly led him outside. "Don't stand for this. You are sitting here like cattle," Small could be heard telling the audience as he was led out. "Is this America?" All the while, parents could be heard applauding his interjections and shouting, "Let him ask his question!"
Now, this whole little scuffle may have just been a story that floated around the school district and was later whispered about among parents ... except for the fact that once outside, Small was arrested and charged with second-degree assault of a police officer. Despite never once actually assaulting anybody. And also, the whole thing was caught on camera. Watch for yourself here.
Robert Small just wanted to confront the school board about their change in curriculum. He wound up in cuffs.
Though charges have since been dropped, in an interview the following day, Small said he believed the school board should allow more parents to come forward and voice their concerns over the changing curriculum in a different way.
"Look, I am being manhandled and shut down because I asked inconvenient questions," Small said. "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."