American Homeless Woman Faces 20 Years in Prison for Sending Child to School

Discussion in 'International Current News & Events' started by IrritatedWithUS, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. IrritatedWithUS

    IrritatedWithUS Well-Known Member

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    Homeless woman prosecuted for enrolling son in Conn. school
    By Liz Goodwin

    Connecticut authorities have filed theft charges against Tanya McDowell, a homeless woman, alleging that she used a false address to enroll her son in a higher-income school district, The Stamford Advocate reports. If she's convicted, McDowell may end up in jail for as many as 20 years and pay a $15,000 fine for the crime.

    McDowell is a homeless single mother from Bridgeport who used to work in food services, is now at the center of one of the very few false address cases in the Norwalk, CT, school district that is being handled in criminal court--rather than between the parent and school. Authorities are accusing McDowell of enrolling her 5-year-old son in nearby Norwalk schools by using the address of a friend. (Her friend has also been evicted from public housing for letting McDowell use her address.)

    McDowell says she stayed in a Norwalk homeless shelter sometimes--but she didn't register there, which would have made her son eligible to attend the school.

    "I had no idea whatsoever that if you enroll your child in another school district, it becomes a crime," the 33-year-old told the paper.

    An education advocacy group, Connecticut Parents Union, is holding a fundraiser to help McDowell pay the possible fine.

    The case is attracting some national attention in the education world, as it's similar to the headline-making story of Ohio mom Kelley Williams-Bolar, who spent days in jail after using her father's address to send her kids to a better-performing school. Her story ignited a debate about inequalities in the public school system.

    "One woman has been evicted, another could go to jail and all because a little boy went to school in a district where he sometimes lives," education writer Joanne Jacobs said of the case. The blog DropOut Nation notes that the Norwalk schools are better than those in Bridgeport, where McDowell's last address was; the case thereby raises larger questions about why poorer families often must send their kids to poorly performing schools, in part because local tax revenues make up so much of school funding.

    In Williams-Bolar's case, private investigators hired by Copley-Fairlawn schools in Ohio found her out and turned her over to the courts. In McDowell's case, the false address was uncovered by a public housing attorney dealing with the friend who let her use the address.

    "I am surprised that this is the case [Norwalk officials] chose to make an example of," Norwalk attorney Michael Corsello told the Stamford-Advocate.

    -------------------------
    US fascism at it's finest.
    How dare she try to raise
    her child's class.
    --------------------------
     
  2. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

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    WoW!

    Don't send your kids to school ... and go to jail. Send your kids to the 'wrong' school ... and go to jail. Don't pack your kids lunch ... you don't know how. Don't say Easter, Christmas and a load of other words ... Don't give a friend an aspirin ... or face drug charges...

    We have just about RULED our country to death! :soapbox1:

    :gaah: ..... :rant: ..... :ignore:
     

  3. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

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    Just plain and simple..........out of control government at all levels.:mad:

    We must take our country back at the polls or liberty as we have known it is doomed.
     
  4. snappy1

    snappy1 Well-Known Member

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    And we're left with the illusion of a Republic! GB says we will be. I think we already are.
     
  5. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    You've got to be kidding! That's ridiculous! I hope a lot of people rally behind this woman and her son. So are they saying that poor kids don't deserve better schools and a good education? Wow.
     
  6. IrritatedWithUS

    IrritatedWithUS Well-Known Member

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    UPDATE

    Tanya McDowell pleads not guilty to stealing son's education - StamfordAdvocate

    Tanya is STILL in jail being treated like a criminal.

    Tanya McDowell pleads not guilty to stealing son's education
    Defense asks for case to be moved out of Norwalk​

    NORWALK -- The homeless woman accused of stealing up to $15,600 from Norwalk taxpayers by sending her 5-year-old son to a city elementary school pleaded not guilty Wednesday during an arraignment in state Superior Court.

    Defense attorneys Darnell Crosland and co-counsel Michael Thomas entered the plea on behalf of their client Tanya McDowell, 33, who is facing up to 20 years in jail on first-degree larceny and conspiracy charges. The case was continued until May 11.


    Yes, you read that right. Being charged with stealing $15,600 in taxpayer money for sending her child to school

    Funny, just saw an article on our government that spends $10,000 per child per year I'm wondering how this little kid's first FEW DAYS of KINDERGARTEN cost taxpayers the equivalent of a YEAR AND A HALF'S WORTH OF EDUCATION
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2011
  7. townparkradio

    townparkradio Family Friendly DJ

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    Couple of facts:

    She could have registered for social services from a homeless shelter in the district and this wouldn't have even been a problem. It's trivially easy to do. I did it myself when I was homeless, and it enabled me to vote, apply for student loans, and yes, if I had kids, send them to school in the district. The fun thing about being homeless was I got to decide where I legally "resided" whether I was financially able to pay taxes there or not. Any social services I used, that area of residence was able to properly account for and in the case of programs coming down from state levels, could be reimbursed for.

    If I hadn't bothered to fill out those simple forms, I would have been getting the benefits of services and the lack of reimbursement would have hurt everyone else who needs those services. It is not stealing from the government so much as it is stealing from everyone who is doing the right thing the right way.

    Secondly, being homeless does not protect you from the law. My parents couldn't send me to whatever random school they felt like just because the one 30 minutes away had far better teachers than the one 10 minutes away. Where you reside determines where you go, because that's how tax dollars are handed out, collected and allocated. Not having a home does not and CAN not make you immune to simple laws. This is what equal protection means. Unless you're paying for a private school or homeschooling, you send kids to the school district you pay taxes in, serve on jury duty from, and so on.

    When these cases come up, you're given ample warnings and reminders of the proper way of doing things. They're not going to punish the child for it ever, and they really do want kids to get an education so these things are allowed to go on quite a while before the district finally hires private investigators to prove the theft of services.

    The only reason this mother is in in trouble is because she was too lazy to take even the most basic steps to ensure her child's education. Society didn't ask much of anything at all from this mother, simply to sign some papers and risk *gasp* jury duty, but she refused to even do that trivial task in exchange for the benefits society wanted to give to her child.
     
  8. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    THANK YOU! for exposing this 'class warfare' FABRICATION for what it is... my anger gets the better of me when I see people (fellow forum members) whose intelligence & opinion I respect (trust me, it doesn't happen often) falling for these distraction tactics & I have to walk away from the comp before I post a scathing rebuke.
     
  9. IrritatedWithUS

    IrritatedWithUS Well-Known Member

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    This lady was staying with a friend for over 2 weeks. The lady sent her kid to school in her friend's school district.

    We have a rental law here where if you stay with someone for over 2 weeks, you technically live there.

    It's trivial government BULL****. That is all it is. People are supposed to be free. There is written into law the RIGHT TO AN PUBLIC EDUCATION. Government is supposed to work FOR THE PEOPLE. It should not matter where you send your kid to school, homeless or not. This woman is still in jail STILL facing 20 YEARS IN PRISON. Does she deserve this? NO.

    She's being charged by THE GOVERNMENT for STEALING A YEAR AND A HALF'S WORTH OF EDUCATION FUNDS when her child was in school FOR DAYS. This is not right!!!!!!

    OPEN UP YOUR EYES, PEOPLE


    This woman was already in homeless shelters. Don't think it did her any good! Shelters have her name!
    I'm sure she had to fill out forms to BE THERE. It's her RIGHT to leave the shelter in the first place. It isn't a PRISON where she CURRENTLY IS. Forms are well FORMS OF BUREAUCRATIC BULLS***

    The government should be LICKING HER BOOTS for NOT asking for help with Chinese money to dole out to her.
     
  10. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

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    townparkradio ... I agree with most of what you said, and "TRUE" being homeless does not protect you from the law ...

    But I think it is a waste of money for her to be in jail, put her before a judge fine but in jail? ... Hell, some guy around here with "THREE" DUI's didn't get that much jail time ... It was only when on his NEXT DUI ... (and when he killed two 16 year old girls walking home from school) Did they do something about him.

    As for the 15,600 in taxpayer money ... that is pennies from what our gobbermint waste.
     
  11. IrritatedWithUS

    IrritatedWithUS Well-Known Member

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    And just to clarify, I do believe there would have been a better way for the woman to do this. However, she probably had too much pride to accept government assistance. I would have that issue myself if I needed it.

    But to waste more taxpayer money on jail time, court cases, and endless paper filings than this woman ever "stole" from the gooberment greatly outnumbers everything. The government's dealings on this subject is what got me all riled up.
     
  12. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

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    How much money is being spent to keep her in jail... I would like to know ...

    I mean come on ...
     
  13. townparkradio

    townparkradio Family Friendly DJ

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    "It's expensive to prosecute" means nothing. They don't go barreling right for criminal charges, they give repeated warnings for this. During the time her babysitter was fighting eviction she was warned ample times that she cannot lie about her place of residence to send her child to a place she does not reside in. Eventually the district attorney had to be notified when she refused to sign a piece of paper stating she was homeless, but in this nicer neighborhood where she had been sending the child. This woman instead chose to tell lie after lie, and despite overwhelming evidence against her, continued to defy the school district. These cases rarely HAVE to go to the police.

    Your issues have nothing to do with the facts of this story. She only had to sign a piece of paper and this wouldn't happen. By not signing a piece of paper, her child was getting benefits without the people generously giving the child those benefits having any chance for reimbursement. Your statement about Chinese money was nonsense as well. This woman's family is absolutely taking government money, as most all poor folks have to simply to exist. Low income folks simply do not pay as much into the system as they're getting out of it, but that's just part of the things any decent society is willing to absorb. I think that Jesus guy has a lot to say on this subject that our society really does compassionately pay attention to.

    All this society asks in return is that folks obey a few simple rules, and, as mentioned before, risk jury duty. This woman can't even decide what her defense is. Is her defense "other people do it too" or is her defense "but I'm homeless"? Nobody has ever forced her to pay restitution, at any point. Ever. None of the stories have stated this. She had two choices, do the paperwork and the jail time, or be faced with a civil suit seeking to recover the damages. The fact is she had ample warnings and refused to act on them.

    This is nobody's fault but her own. This is not racist. This is not even the class issues that come into play when folks form poor neighborhoods send their children to school in better ones. This woman simply had to sign a piece of paper. Instead of doing so, she obstinately made claims which got her babysitter evicted and got herself eventually prosecuted.

    To let her off is not fair to everyone doing it the right way, it would not be fair to the school district that was educating her child but not permitted to receive programs and relief entitled by that child living in their district. To let her off because prosecution would be expensive is STUNNINGLY wrong-headed. If there is not conviction at the end of this path of misbehavior, than folks would have no reason not to lie and make education vastly more expensive for everyone else in a district.

    There are severe problems with how the educational system pays for itself and the resultant variation in school quality, but allowing people to actively make it worse does nothing to repair these issues.
     
  14. townparkradio

    townparkradio Family Friendly DJ

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    Ten days in jail and the court resources to prosecute? About 900 dollars. Allowing her to continue her behavior? About $15,000 per year in lost budget.
     
  15. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    So some schools spend $10,000 per year per student, and others are allowed to spend $15,000 per year per student? Why?
     
  16. IrritatedWithUS

    IrritatedWithUS Well-Known Member

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    They're special, I assume. ;) Gah... There should be a set limit in all 50 states per student. Everyone needs to learn the information equally.
     
  17. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    My thoughts exactly. Equal education for all children. Treat them like they deserve a good education regardless of their parents' income.
     
  18. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

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    Ummm. That's a mighty slippery slope (Constitutional issues aside). Do you really want to give the ObaMaoites more control over your kids' education than they have already? IMHO, the individual States should control educational content, not the all-knowing Gods in DC.
     
  19. IrritatedWithUS

    IrritatedWithUS Well-Known Member

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    I don't see any difference than local governments given less or more funds per student for an education. Obviously, a public school isn't going to spent $20,000 per student as a private school might. But if one state is getting $10,500 per student and another is getting $12,500 then one child is getting more resources than another.
    YET i do agree with you that the government wants to control everything. I'm at a stalemate ;)
     
  20. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    Well, yes and no, on the equal $$$ for education. I think the school districts, or maybe the states, should be in charge of education and what's taught, NOT the federal government.

    Equal $$$, that's a bit touchy. They could give equal money to each district, per student, but there isn't much equal right now in some areas such as teacher pay. Rural areas tend to pay less, and I suppose it might have something to do with less kids. However in many rural or lightly-populated areas they're bussed to consolidated schools and the "rural" classrooms are just as likely to have 30 or more per class. But the teachers are paid far less than urban teachers and have less classroom equipment and facilities than their urban counterparts.

    I don't know what the fix is for that.

    Also, the cost of living varies a lot by region, so should all teachers be paid the same?