Tanya McDowell is a homeless Connecticut mother who was charged with felony larceny last year after she lied about her address to make her six-year-old son eligible to attend school in a better district. McDowell pled guilty to the accusation and was sentenced to twelve years in prison this week. While the sentence also takes four charges of drug possession and sale into account, the sentence also requires that McDowell pay a $6,200 fine for stealing what the state has calculated was $15,000 in educational services.

McDowell’s case attracted the support of education and civil rights advocates who argued that because she was living in a van and occasionally sleeping at a shelter in Norwalk, where she enrolled her child, she should not have been required to send him to school in the city of her last permanent address, which is located in Bridgeport. Instead of using that old Bridgeport address, McDowell used that of a babysitter who lived in Norwalk to send her son to kindergarten.

Does this twelve year sentence make any sense? It’s a shame that McDowell got caught up in drugs, whether she was selling them or using them, and it’s clear that she was doing everything she could to make a life for her child — she’s no Nino Brown. But that part of the sentence at least makes sense. What’s disgraceful is the idea that a parent who lacks a permanent address can be separated from her child for using the address of a friend to “steal” a free education for him.

Read more here.

What do you think of this case?

  • Mr East

    The lion’s share of her jail time was in regards to the drugs charges she was found guilty of. The judge was lenient with the larceny charge given the circumstances and he could of imposed up to a 20 year sentence for that charge alone.

  • lng

    People like ashley make me sick. This was not about how the mother sold drugs. This was about the child. Every child in america deserves an education they do not choose their parents this woman was homeless so basically homeless children do not deserve any education because their parents poor decisions…. way to go ash…. way to go.

  • lng

    Also just so were clear there’s a reason HISTORICALLY Why black schools are poorer. Not because blacks don’t want to pay its because they don’t have the resources, with racisist employers lesser pay and a cycle of them going to worse schools such as… its harder for parents to make enough maybe a handfull of parents went to community college and even less further education then that over all a few parents who have money can’t foot the bill. This woman was homeless she could be living anywhere and its sad to hear people saypublic schools aren’t free… well hardly anything is free even our freedom isn’t free. And to insinuate homeless non working people don’t deserve to send their kids to school is gross and disgusting…. again… bravo

  • larena

    I know someone like that & always wanted to report her cuase she is using her mothr adress & live in a different town which I don’t understand because she is doing it as well to collect state asistance. Now tell me if this is wronge she’s a grown ass women wit $$$$$

  • So fed up

    I don’t feel she stole anything. She is a black woman that is her crime.

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