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Howard County Man Charged for Disrupting School Meeting

Towson, Maryland (September 23, 2013) - On September 19, a Baltimore County police officer working off duty for Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) arrested a Howard County man, charging him with creating a disturbance during a public meeting regarding the new Common Core curriculum.

The citizen, Larry R. Small of the 10200 block of Maxine Street, 21042, was charged with disturbing school operations and second degree assault. Small was released on his own recognizance.

The arrest occurred after a BCPS official asked the officer to intervene when Mr. Small shouted a statement from the floor and refused repeated requests by BCPS Superintendent Dallas Dance to take his seat and follow the prescribed format.

The meeting, hosted in Towson by BCPS, was one of a series of meetings scheduled throughout the state by the Maryland Department of Education. The established meeting format requires participants to submit written questions to the panel.  While the Baltimore County Police 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. 

Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson said he will review the incident.

Update

At 4:16 p.m. on September 23, Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger issued the following statement:

On September 23, 2013 charges against Robert Small for Second Degree Assault and Disturbing a School Activity were dismissed.  Mr. Small was charged as a result of an incident that occurred on September 19, 2013 at a forum held by the Maryland State Department of Education in Baltimore County.

It was clear that Mr. Small violated the rules of the meeting and disrupted the meeting.  It was also clear that the Officer acted appropriately and did have probable cause to make an arrest on both charges.

The Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office has just received and reviewed the facts of this case.  In the interest of justice, further prosecution will not accomplish anything more.  Therefore, the charges have been dismissed. The State’s Attorney’s Office will have no further comment on this matter.