Many would do anything for their children. Tanya McDowell happens to be one of them. In the process of trying to get the best education possible for her six-year-old son, she may be looking at up to 20 years in prison. No, she didn’t hold up a bank, engage in insider trading, rather she just sent her son to a elementary school “in the wrong town.” What happened?
Ms. McDowell and her son live in Bridgeport, Connecticut. But she didn’t want to send him to the schools there, instead she “illegally” enrolled him in a school in nearby Norwalk using a friend’s address. But in Connecticut, you can only enroll your child in the district you live in since your local taxes are what pay for the school costs.
Ms. McDowell was arrested on April 14th. What complicates matters is that Ms. McDowell and her son don’t actually have an address in Bridgeport. They are basically homeless, crashing at friends’ homes. Many have rallied in support around Ms. McDowell. The founder of the Connecticut Parents Union compassionately stated that, “ We need to look at homelessness and realize it’s not just people living under bridges,” she said. “Some people don’t have a stable place to lay their head, and we need to be very sensitive to the fiscal crisis and the results of that.”
But not everyone is seeing Ms. McDowell as a victim of her circumstances. The mayor of Norwalk stated that Ms. McDowell is “not a poor, picked-upon homeless person.” he said. “This is an ex con, and somehow the city of Norwalk is made into the ogre in this. She has a checkered past at best.” He doesn’t see Norwalk as being insensitive, adding, “we’re a very compassionate city” and that, “she knew how to post bond, she had a car — why didn’t she send her kid to the Bridgeport school? This woman is not a victim and Norwalk is not an ogre. As far as I’m concerned, let them say what they want.”
But really, 20 years in prison – although that is the worst-case scenario – would be ridiculous. Can’t they just move her son to the correct school and be done with it?
Do you think there should be compassion paid to her or did she really cheat the system and the city?
Image: Flickr – Joe Butler
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