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Charges Dropped Against Ellicott City Man Arrested at Common Core Meeting

The Ellicott City man was charged with disturbing school operations and second-degree assault after attempting to question school officials at a public meeting in Towson.

Ellicott City man arrested at Baltimore County public meeting. (Screenshot)
Ellicott City man arrested at Baltimore County public meeting. (Screenshot)
By Bryan Sears

Charges against an Ellicott City man who was arrested after speaking out at a public meeting on new national education standards known as the Common Core were dropped Monday by the Baltimore County state's attorney.


Larry Small, of the 10200 block of Maxine Street in Ellicott City, was charged Thursday night with disturbing school operations and second-degree assault after being accused of disrupting a public meeting with Maryland State Schools Superintendent Lillian Lowery.

A video of the incident went viral Monday.

"It was clear that Mr. Small violated the rules of the meeting and disrupted the meeting," State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger said. "It was also clear that the officer acted appropriately and did have probable cause to make an arrest on both charges."

"In the interest of justice, further prosecution will not accomplish anything more," Shellenberger said. "Therefore, the charges have been dismissed."

The Baltimore County state's attorney said he would make no further comment on the issue.

The statement by the prosecutor comes on the same day that Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson said he would review the charges stemming from the incident.

The town hall meeting on the new national standards was hosted Thursday by Baltimore County Public Schools and is one of a number of regional meetings state education officials are holding around Maryland.

In a statement released Monday, police said the incident was under review.

"The established meeting format requires participants to submit written questions to the panel," the department said in the statement, adding that the department "strongly supports a citizen's right to exercise his or her First Amendment rights; it also recognizes that meeting organizers have the right to establish rules of order."

Small and other parents complained that Lowery and other school officials were answering "softball questions" about the new and controversial education standards.

In a video posted online, a plain clothed officer approaches Small and shows him his badge and attempts to quiet the Ellicott City man.

A few moments later the officer appears to push Small out a door.

The Baltimore Sun reported that a police report said Small pushed the officer.

Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance Monday afternoon released a statement saying the "meeting helped us realize that we must do a better job of communicating what the Common Core is and what it is not."

"We have to ensure that our parents and community members understand that the Common Core allows us to implement our own curriculum, written by us, for us," Dance said in his statement. "This gives us the flexibility to ensure that we are meeting the needs specific to our children in Baltimore County."

Dance said additional questions from the meeting that were not answered would be posted online with answers from school officials.
Mare Davis September 23, 2013 at 06:21 PM
Do a better job of communicating? That's the understatement of the century! Truth is, they don't want to communicate. They want to dictate.
O.P. Ditch September 24, 2013 at 04:06 AM
Mr. Dance fails to mention that "the locally developed curriculum" MUST meet Common Core Standards developed at the National Level. Dr. James Milgram, the only mathematician on the Common Core Validation Committee also refused to sign off on the standards because of their poor quality. He stated “It’s almost a joke to think students [who master the common standards] would be ready for math at a university.” Common Core Standards are dumbed down and Rotten to the Core: http://the912-project.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/commoncorebasic.pdf
Pete Saria September 24, 2013 at 04:55 AM
Not sure if common core was in place when I was school, but I'm as dumb as a post, particularly in math and science. I it weren't for military service I never would have gone to college or even thought about it for that matter. I had to take a dumbed down chemistry class and math to get the credits, but really, I was not interested in it until late in life. Now I engineer rockets and payload shuttles with defense contractors, they hired me because I was a Cold War disabled veteran. Someone with skills from early in life will catch any errors I've made if they are not to busy in meetings, like most of the time. Teach your kids ho to count money and save it during the core school years. It's the only chance they have in this world to make it to retirement. Not everyone likes math and those that do it for a living make very little money, as do many, not all, but many scientists. They enjoy the work, and spend many overtime hours proving it. So kicking the can down the road isn't so bad, but if you want a core system, or not a core system, study Taiwan's system. Students there have to test to get into high schools, the better the high schools, the better the chances they will have to study even harder to get into top colleges. They call them private. Public schools are considered as giving a poor education. The kids come home from school, eat a quick dinner, and back out to study groups. No adult intervention, except preparing the quick meal. Oh and when in k-12, the students stay in one room and the teachers move around to teach. They graduate with hundreds, but know about 40 very closely because they stay with them through each level of school as they continue to elevate or remain behind at lower levels. I find this an excellent way to run a school system, and prepare students to take the real jobs of others around the globe.
JaySmith September 24, 2013 at 07:47 AM
Welcome to Obama's America. If I could afford to move right now, I would. The "Common Core" national standards are the product of the National Education Dept in Wash DC that should not even exist. It's a waste of money, doing nothing but promoting an agenda of indoctrination. 'Common Core' principles are alot like developing 1st-graders on up....to be agitators.....community organizers..... it's really sick stuff and this parent Mr. Small seems to know about how destructive the Common-Core agenda for our schools (Balt County now, who knows where, next). The forces of govt have become too large, as evidenced by the Baltimore policeman doing the thuggery. Very sick stuff we're seeing now. That's what BIG GOVT does, protect their turf and jobs. We should abolish the federal Dept of Education right now....for starters.
woodbine5 September 24, 2013 at 09:23 AM
What amazed me is how the school board sat there smirking while this man was dragged away, and how the rest of the room just sat there and watched it happen. We aren't "heading" towards a communist society, we have arrived.
TomP September 24, 2013 at 10:03 AM
When our nation elects and then re-elects an emperor, you inevitably get this sort of result. The gentleman was right when he exhorted the audience and pronounced then "sitting there like a bunch of sheep". The "officer" should be charged with assault and illegal detention. Handcuffs? For speaking at a "public forum"? Disgusting.
Columbia Independent September 24, 2013 at 10:15 AM
I love all the typical "Obama's America", "Communism", and "Big Government" cries, as if any of you know what a school in a communist country was actually like. Statements like this prove that the previous generations' school system was just as bad and produced adults that aren't smarter than a 5th grader. That being said, the Common Core standards are poor because they try to enforce a curriculum without addressing any other factors affecting U.S. public education systems. They try to cram too much knowledge without any concept for child psychology and development. Overpopulation in schools, overly long school breaks (including Summer), and poor homework policies should be addressed before becoming obsessed with standards testing. This isn't to say that every kid shouldn't have a basic education in these core topics, but each kid is different and may be better at non-core subjects. I laugh that one of the best example school systems is the Finnish education system, which is one of those "socialist" states Americans always rail against. Fully subsidized food and transportation costs. Fully unionized teachers with autonomy and their own curricula. A schedule that spends half its time teaching arts, languages, and vocational technology. Minimal homework to maximize time spent on extracurricular activities. Completely voluntary "high school" education, with choice of either a vocational school or an academic school. And despite all these supposedly "socialist" ideas, these schools and their students constantly rank in the top of most worldwide tests and studies. But the US would never deign to do that because it might interfere with parents' schedules and lifestyles, and thus jobs and the economy. God forbid we change our own egocentric view for our children's sake.
Jessica Turner September 24, 2013 at 11:33 AM
Thank you Larry Small.
TomP September 24, 2013 at 12:02 PM
The Taiwan system may indeed be wonderful (and not much different from the system used in much of Great Britain), but please consider the response of the "equal opportunists" if such a system were attempted here. It just could not be done with the current social climate. As for the vaunted Finnish system, that ranking is established by the same educators that develop programs such as Common Core. Frankly, I see no evidence of students flocking to Finland to study math, engineering, and science. Finland is far from a world power while our universities are established as centers of excellence in virtually all academic areas. Foreign students arrive here in droves while I see no evidence of an exodus to Finland. I wonder just who it is that "fully subsidizes" the wonders of Finland.
Marcus Aurelius September 24, 2013 at 12:28 PM
ANY ONE LOOKING TO BUY MY LAZY GUN? I have 3 lazy guns. They won't fire unless I pull the trigger Today I swung my front door wide open and placed my Remington 1100 shotgun right in the doorway. I gave it 6 shells; I even placed it in a wheelchair to help it get around. I then left it alone and went about my business. While I was gone, the mailman delivered my mail, the neighbor boy across the street mowed the yard, a girl walked her dog down the street, and quite a few cars stopped at the stop sign right in front of our house. After about an hour, I checked on the gun. It was still sitting there in the wheelchair, right where I had left it. It hadn't rolled itself outside. It certainly hadn't killed anyone, even with the numerous opportunities it had been presented to do so. In fact, it hadn't even loaded itself. You can imagine my surprise, with all the media hype about how dangerous guns are and how they kill people. Either the media is wrong and it's the misuse of guns by PEOPLE that kills people, or I'm in possession of the laziest gun in the world. Well, I'm off to check on my spoons. I hear they're making people fat.
JaySmith September 24, 2013 at 12:52 PM
Hey Columbia Independent: You slammed us who criticize the fascism we saw in that video against Mr. Small......and my comment that BIG GOVT has become TOO big. Yes, I'm beyond 5th grade math. I majored in Mathematics in college, cum laude, graduated 3 months before Obama started at my college. And I understand numbers, unlike you, Obama, and his voters. Here goes: Fed/State/Local govts spend $6T/year. They take $5T from us in dozens and dozens of ways, and the other $1T is printed by the Treasury. Our nation's workers have a total Adjusted Gross Income (that's the bottom of page 1 1040) of less than $9T/year. Now are you going to tell me that govt is not too large, when it spends $6T fed/st/local ? This is why our nation is falling apart. And our federal govt INHIBITS the production of energy (oil, coal, nuclear) in our own natural resources. Even the govts in Scandinavia aren't that stupid. They drill and mine the living daylights out of their land and water, and produce ALL they need, and then sell plenty to rest of Europe. Which helps sustain their semi-socialist states. 41 Dems in the Senate have blocked production since 1976, and it's seriously hurting us. But go ahead, call me a 5th grader for saying our govt entities are too big. The video w/ Mr Smith is just one of millions of indications, along with the Common Core bullshi_, thrown at us from Wash DC.
Columbia Independent September 24, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Same educators that designed Common Core? Common Core is an American program, created by members of the College Board and controlled by two political groups. Neither of those have anything to do with the OECD, an international organization, or the NCES, a research organization, both of whom performed the studies providing rankings for world education systems. No evidence of non-Finnish students heading there? Since the 90s, enough foreign students have been garnering educations there that there's been repeat proposals to start charging them tuition. Although the University of Helsinki "only" ranks #78 out of the top 400 schools in the world, it is far more accessible than the top schools in the US and UK, with free tuition and admission based on knowledge, not money or nepotism. Maybe that's why they beat us in the amount of international students attending there. What do you mean by "world power"? Sure, if you mean they don't stick their noses in other countries' business all the time. They have the #3 economy in the world, behind only Singapore and Switzerland. They beat us in education, with a higher percentage of "high school" attendance and graduation, the top rate of continuing education among adults, and a higher graduation rate from universities. Just because you don't want to see it doesn't mean it's not happening. Read the OECD report to see where we stand in comparison.
Columbia Independent September 24, 2013 at 01:04 PM
I call you dumber than a 5th grader not because of your maths skills but because you seem to think this is all Obama and the Democrats fault. This has been going on since the end of the U.S. "golden age" in the 50s and 60s and has been the fault of a number of administrations, Republican AND Democrat. Corruption and stupidity through the 70s, Reaganomics in the 80s, and the idiocy of both Bush and Obama today, not to mention the various members of Congress through those periods, are ALL guilty of leading us to where we are. Claiming this is somehow solely the Democrats fault is fallacy and a load of garbage when both sides are playing the common people for their own gain regardless of the consequences. Pull your head out of FoxNews and Ayn Rand and start smelling the crap on both sides of the aisle for what it is.
woodbine5 September 24, 2013 at 01:57 PM
CI, are you capable of having a civil discourse? You are rude, arrogant, and make every attempt at shutting down any opposing point of view.
TomP September 24, 2013 at 02:07 PM
Gee, CI, you really are an equal opportunity socialist or something. first you extol the virtues of the very socialist system of Finland as somehow Utopian and then you criticize all of our politicians for leading us down the path to the same end. Having spent nearly all of my entire life associated with one of the major educational institutions in this nation or any other, I really do have some grasp of the topic. My statement earlier concerning the Common Core, OECD, and NCES was in reference to the core training and beliefs of the people behind these efforts. They are all professional educators evaluating or directing professional educators. As for Ayn Rand and Fox News, perhaps you should re-read Atlas Shrugged. Pretty predictive.
TomP September 24, 2013 at 02:32 PM
In addition CI, you totally miss the real point. It is not Common Core, but the denial of Mr. Samples right to speak at a public forum. It is the abusive manner in which he was treated and removed from that forum. That is far more important than the curriculum standards.
JaySmith September 25, 2013 at 07:05 AM
TomP....Woodbine......TOUCHEE !! C.I. : You continue to miss the points and instead start screaming at the windmills like the man from lamancha. So we're like 5th-graders because some of us blame Dems more than Repubs for the explosive growth in govt, and you blame them equally? Ok, good for you. Then you should love the TeaParty-believers......which I and many of us are who think $6T total govt spending (fed/st/loc) is too much considering our AGI is only $8.5 - 9T. See you at the next TeaParty rally. That's the only place/people who can save us from this govt fascism.
JaySmith September 26, 2013 at 07:52 AM
Hey C.I. : Re your 9/24 1:04pm comment. You are seriously in error. Read Folsom's book "FDR New Deal or Raw Deal" and you'll learn that our big-govt fascism started in the summer of 1933 BY DEMOCRATS, with among other things, passing a little law called the National Industrial Recovery Act, that imposed strict rules on businesses. They hired people to assign minimum prices that ALL businesses could price on 5,000 products in the U.S. It was a freaking disaster. Many business owners who could not make their business work with higher prices were faced with the choice.....go out of business or go to jail. Many went to jail. Henry Ford had spent 20 years getting his cars down to a price where millions of people could afford it. He called the law communist-federal-control over the country. It was Democrats 100% who started that crap from Wash DC. Read the book and learn. And 'no' I haven't read Ayn Rand, and 'no' I don't watch much TV, like FoxNews. You are seriously wrong in your accusations and assumptions. Now go to the library and get that book, or CD and read it or listen to it. It's 100% true. FDR was a friggin' disaster, economically, for our country. But he learned how to buy votes with federal govt dollars directed to states. Thus began much of the crap we still have in DC.
Columbia Independent September 26, 2013 at 10:16 AM
TomP, why is socialism a dirty word? Why don't you want a community that helps others? Are you that selfish you can't help your fellow man? Certainly the programs need to be better audited, to guarantee we don't have people gaming them, but that doesn't mean we should throw the baby out with the bathwater. I believe in a social democracy, one where everyone has personal freedom but the taxes they pay go to help everybody and in a transparent manner. As for your posturing about all the educational institutes you're associated with, you can stuff it. I have taught in schools since the 80's, from universities to military academies, so your knowledge is no better than mine. There's a difference between knowledge and application, and that's where I think you fail. For example, Common Core has nothing to do with OECD and the people aren't related in any way other than being in the field of education. Attacking my source through false association to discredit my argument is fallacy, something you should know given your claims of education. As for Mr. Small's right to speak at a public forum, I never said he wasn't treated unfairly. I actually stand with others in claims that the Board was, and is, in the wrong on all of this. The difference is I'm not taking the simpleton's route and blaming socialism, Democrats, etc. as if they're the only guilty party.
Columbia Independent September 26, 2013 at 10:35 AM
JaySmith, the Tea Party are no better than the Republicans they came from, and possibly worse given they make up their own reality to rage against. I prefer not to be bound by the party lines that have dragged our political system into the dirt. Democrat, Republican, Tea Party, Libertarian, Green... they all create illusory sides without thinking about the individual issues. FDR might have been a disaster or not; hindsight is always 20/20 and I doubt any of us were alive or that old when he left office. However, if the "New Deal" was so horrible, why wasn't it changed during Ike's administration? I was there during Eisenhower and I remember how much better things seemed. We weren't a rich family and we lived in a rural area, but we certainly weren't doing bad for ourselves even with the tax rate. Things didn't start getting worse until LBJ and Nixon, and then everything went downhill. Did this steady failure have something to do with FDRs "New Deal"? Possibly. It's just hard to believe that the "evil Democrat machine" was the source, considering a Republican and Democrat were both running things during the height of our economy and both Republicans and Democrats held office as we struggled during the 70's recession and energy crises.
TomP September 26, 2013 at 10:53 AM
Amazing how much our education system has decayed from the 50's to the 80's. Let me explain the fallacy and underlying difference between a socialist system and a relatively free enterprise system such as we once enjoyed in the USA. Under our current system I do indeed have considerable concern for my fellow man. In fact, I personally spend a fair amount of my time and fortune (small as it is) to better the situation of others. The difference is that I do so willingly as best I can and as I see fit. I do so without government intervention and without the bureaucatic overhead and oversight that necessarily exists under a socialist system. It is wonderful for you to proclaim your unselfish attitude toward your fellow man when in fact what you are doing is simply handing your personal treasure to a government worker who then is charged somehow with doling out your money as he or she sees fit. In fact, you have done absolutely nothing to directly help your fellow man, but you feel better because you have fed the beast so that the beast might find a way to somehow help others. For anyone that can think beyond the end of their nose, this is hardly an efficient system. Finally, as for my understanding of the difference between knowledge and application, I personally learned about the "application" by voluntarily serving in the military (probably before you were born), following that I worked for decades developing elements of complex systems for use in deep submergence to deep space. I have followed that career at the behest of a recognized authority by trying to give that knowledge base back to the younger generation that will follow in those endeavors. As for your final disdainful comments, none of which are supported by anything I have written in this forum to date, "methinks thou doest protest to much". Perhaps some of us have touched a nerve you did not wish to have exposed!
JaySmith September 27, 2013 at 05:20 AM
C.I. You are a very confused pseudo-intellectual. Yes, most of us who respect our federal Constitution and what our Founding Fathers wanted/required/designed as a limited federal govt where states could co-exist and compete for best quality of life and business-environments.....would be completely shattered if our fed govt grew to mammoth proportions as it has. And OH YES C.I........the TeaParty branch of the Repub Party is the ONLY HOPE we have of putting some brakes on the federal govt and ramping down its spending, which is UNSUSTAINABLE at nearly $4T/year. You ignore all facts. We have a spending and size problem, but to you, our federal govt needs more goodies and redistribution to the bottom 1/2 or whatever. That ruins what our country was supposed to be. And C.I.....if you want to see where we're headed, just look to France, Italy, Greece, Spain, England.....they're all semi-soclalist countries that have central govt that's far too powerful. And their economies, prosperity-chances, and upward-mobility SUCK. And we're headed there with Obama & the Dems (Reid-led Senate). Those are facts.

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