Tonya McDowell, the 34-year-old black woman who enrolled her son at a school in Norwalk, Connecticut, instead of Bridgeport, where she last lived permanently before becoming homeless, has been sentenced to 5 years in prison.
McDowell admitted to “fraudulently enrolling” her son in kindergarten in Norwalk, by using a babysitters address. McDowell had lived out of a van and occasionally stayed at a homeless shelter in Norwalk.
Nonetheless, the state charged her with stealing a “free” education:
McDowell told police she was living in a van and occasionally slept at a Norwalk shelter or a friend’s Bridgeport apartment when she enrolled her son Norwalk’s Brookside Elementary School.
Police said McDowell stole $15,686 worth of ‘free’ educational services from Norwalk.
She also pleaded guilty to four counts of sale of narcotics, which will be included in her prison sentence.
In a separate case, she pleaded guilty on February 7 to selling drugs.
McDowell’s lawyer, Darnell Crosland, said she agreed to accept a plea bargain rather than continue fighting the charges even though she insists she is not guilty.
Mr Crosland said: ‘You shouldn’t be arrested for stealing a free education. It’s just wrong.’
McDowell was sentenced to 12 years in jail, suspended after she serves five years, and five years probation.
Read more at the DailyMail.
Despite efforts by civil rights activists and others to get the case dismissed, the state obviously proceeded with charges.
Should a parent be sent to jail for trying to secure a quality education for her child?
How can the state reconcile punishing someone for stealing something that is free?
What can compel representatives of the state (i.e. politicians) to understand that parents engage in such “crimes” because education is not equal?
Sound off below!!!!