Homeless Mom Arrested After Enrolling Son in Wrong School District

April 28, 2011  |  

Tanya McDowell was living in her van when it was time to enroll her son in kindergarten, so she used the address of her babysitter. Some time later the school sent a note home in her son’s backpack saying he would no longer be able to attend Brookside Elementary in Norwalk, Connecticut. McDowell removed him from the school and enrolled him in a poorer, urban school district. The school district was located in the same area as her last permanent residence.

Earlier this month McDowell was arrested and charged with committing and attempting to commit first-degree larceny. The school district says she stole $16,000 in her son’s educational fees.

This is the first case of its kind. Normally the school hires a private investigator, this time the police were involved. If convicted McDowell could face up to 20 years in jail and could be ordered to pay back thousands of dollars in fines. McDowell, who already has a criminal record, is also awaiting a trail for pending drug charges.

What do you think about Tanya’s case? Should she be charged this harshly? Do you think her prior criminal history is affecting her treatment now?


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