In his eloquently written commentary ("Giving lip service to debate," Sept. 27), Towson University's Richard E. Vatz hits the nail on the head about the recent removal and arrest of a parent who spoke out at a regional public forum on the Common Core standards held in Baltimore County.

A friend of mine attended the forum and recounted her shock at the harsh treatment the parent suffered for expressing his views verbally instead of acquiescing to the required format. As Mr. Vatz points out, the policy of permitting only written questions can stifle dissent by allowing the moderator to pick and choose which questions to answer.

The Oxford American Dictionary defines "forum" as "a place of or meeting for public discussion." While meetings do need to have order, I hope that lessons have been learned and that subsequent forums will be handled more democratically. This will allow us to "evaluate other points of view critically" and "express and listen carefully to ideas," which are fundamental components of the Common Core standards themselves.

Adreon Hubbard