Homeless Mother Faces Jail Time for Sending Her Kid to an “Out of District” School

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Tanya McDowell is facing a possible 20-year jail sentence for sending her kid to the “wrong” school. Even, though, technically, she has no fixed address.

In addition to sending her kid to school in Norwalk, Conn., McDowell will also have to pay $15,000 to the city for “stealing her son’s education.” She initially used the address of a babysitter to enroll him in the school.

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The Stamford Advocate says that McDowell herself “divides her time between an apartment on Priscilla Circle in Bridgeport, where she is not allowed to stay when the lease holder is away, the Norwalk Emergency Shelter and her minivan.”

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The newspaper goes on to note that it’s also the first time the state has convicted a mother for sending a child to an out-of-district school, a rather disproportionate and harsh consequence for such an act.

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While McDowell has a checkered past, Norwalk’s mayor has gone on to defend the decision, citing her history, saying that “[s]he 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.”

Meanwhile the former chief operating officer for Norwalk Public Schools, Stuart Opdahl, was asked what he thought about the case. “Absurd,” he said.

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