Thursday night, Howard County parent Robert Small attended an MSDE-sponsored informational meeting on Common Core at Ridge Ruxton School. He left the meeting in handcuffs.
I was able to capture the confrontation on camera. If you haven’t seen the video, click here.
Viewers of the video were overwhelmingly shocked and disgusted, calling it assault against Mr. Small physically, as well as an assault on his First Amendment right to free speech. It struck a nerve on Americans’ growing distrust in our government.
After the video and story went viral nationally and even internationally, a repeated question emerged in the comments: Why didn’t the people in the audience stand up for this guy?
Both the question and answer have important implications.
But first, let’s hear from Robert Small. In frustration over not having concerns addressed regarding Common Core, Mr. Small spoke out to the parents at the meeting. He said:
“Parents, take control. We’re sick of this. This is not a CNN political debate. This is a public town hall... Listen, don’t stand for this. You’re sitting here like cattle. You have questions. Confront them. They don’t want to do it in public.... Parents, you need to question these people.”
So why did the cattle continue to low?
First, the public needs to understand that no one in attendance thought for a moment that Mr. Small was going to be arrested. In fact, I didn’t find out about it until the next day, and I was shocked. We just thought he was being escorted (to put it kindly) out of the room. That’s not to excuse our lack of action, but to make it somewhat more understandable.
Second, no parent wants to believe how political the public school system is, from the federal level all the way down to the local school level. We attend school meetings thinking we’re all there to “work together”, as the school system is always saying. But then there’s the teacher’s unions, the school boards, the PTA, and many other pressures coming down from above in a top-down power structure. Add federal education programs into the mix and now we’re talking money. Big money. When the MSDE adopted Common Core in June of 2010 (yes, three years ago), it received a quarter BILLION dollar federal incentive grant through Race To The Top which was conditioned upon adherence to Common Core.
Third, Americans (outside of Chicago) are not used to Police State tactics. It’s new to us. When we see it, we don’t immediately recognize it and we don’t know how to respond. Everyone has had those moments of hindsight when you kick yourself, saying, “I should have said that”, or “I should have done this”. Those are learning moments, and the second time we are faced with a similar situation, we know how to respond.
The video of Robert Small’s arrest is a wake-up call.
Americans are beginning to see the oppressive actions of over-reaching government, elected officials who don’t represent the people and who brazenly violate our rights, and a culture of corruption and power-worshipping. The sooner we react, the more civil the solution can be. The later, the more violent.
But we will either be defenders of our liberty, or victims of our own complacency. Let’s not be cattle. We may not have stood up for Robert Small the way we should have at the meeting, but we are standing up for him now. Please call the BCPD at 410-396-2525 to demand charges be dropped against Robert Small. More to come about a defense fund.
UPDATE 9/23/13: All charges were dropped against Robert Small today.
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