CT - Homeless women arrested for sending her son to school

Discussion in 'Crimes in the News' started by lmmay, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. lmmay

    lmmay Member

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  3. mysticrose

    mysticrose The key to change... is to let go of fear

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    Ludicrous !
     
  4. Melanie

    Melanie Inactive

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    I don't get this part:

    Tonya McDowell, 33, is accused of stealing $15,000 -- the cost of her son's public education -- from the Norwalk School District, according to the Stamford Advocate. She was arrested Thursday.

    How on earth did she get her hands on 15K from a school district. Heck - if they're handing out that kind of dosh, sign me up ;)

    Mel
     
  5. Melanie

    Melanie Inactive

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    I don't think it had much to do with her living conditions, as she had a place to stay at night, but had to be gone during the day.

    She was arrested and is facing first-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny charges.

    MOO

    Mel
     
  6. shadowraiths

    shadowraiths LISK Liaison, Verified Forensic Psychology Special Staff Member Moderator

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    This case exemplifies how broken our system is.

    From my read of the article the woman did not literally steal anything. It has to do with taxation and school funding. Basically, property taxes go to pay for schools. Therefore, in order to register a child in a school, at least one parent or caregiver must live in the school's district. This causes a huge problem for homeless people with children. For a number of reasons. For one, if the individual does not enroll their child in school, the child can be removed from them and be placed into foster care, while the parent can be arrested, charged for neglect and jailed. Otoh, if the parent tries to enroll the child, as was this case, they can face charges for, as the article notes, "first-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny charges."

    Iow what happened to the "No Child Left Behind" educational initiative? ( link ). I must admit, this sort of thing steams me to no end.
     
  7. CHICANA

    CHICANA Active Member

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    Wouldn't this typically be a civil case ?
     
  8. Pandora

    Pandora New Member

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    The district--on average--spends $15,000/child to educate them. Usually this is a civil matter, but due to bugetary constraints this year, schools are now starting to press charges as theft of services. If she gets a lawyer who knows anything about the educational system, she can get that amount knocked way down and limit or eliminate jail time. While $15,000 is the average, most of a school's expenditures go to special education students, not regular ed students. While I work at another school, there is a school in my area that has a single student with three (yes, three) full-time staff members with him at all times--a teacher, a TSS, and a psychologist/behavior specialist. He is well-above the $8,000 we spend/student on average.
     
  9. mysticrose

    mysticrose The key to change... is to let go of fear

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    What in the hello has are country come to when we are arresting and charging parents for sending their child to a school outside of their district ? What a bunch of carp....
     
  10. Melanie

    Melanie Inactive

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    OMGosh - this is crazy! So they want to charge her for her sons education because she's homeless. I knew this world was skrewed up - but this takes the cake!

    MOO

    Mel
     
  11. WhyaDuck?

    WhyaDuck? Inactive

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    So I read this as meaning that no child of a homeless family can attend school?

    I can understand that schools are eager to make sure there is no district-hopping due to funding issues, but it seems to me that the imperative to help families break the cycle of poverty is much more important.

    What is the mother to do? Isn't not educating your child also illegal? There has to be some sort of help or solution in this situation.
     
  12. BuzzieCat

    BuzzieCat New Member

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    http://norwalk.patch.com/articles/m...g-kid-in-norwalk-school-really-wasnt-homeless

    "Mayor Richard A. Moccia said Thursday that the assertion by McDowell that she was homeless is false, and that in fact she was living in Bridgeport when she enrolled her child in the Norwalk school system. He said McDowell was able to pay a woman $100 a week for babysitting services and was able to make bail, casting further suspicion."

    Also: "The McKinney-Vento Act allows states that homeless parents may 'enroll the child or youth in any public school that nonhomeless students who live in the attendance area in which the child or youth is actually living are eligible to attend.'" (Section 722 (g) 3 (A) ii)"

    http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/policereports/article/Police-blotter-216688.php
    ^Drug charges
     
  13. WhyaDuck?

    WhyaDuck? Inactive

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    That Act is a bit unclear to me - does that mean that the parents may be homeless, but the students have to live in the area?
     
  14. Melanie

    Melanie Inactive

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    BBM

    Why yes it is. We rec'd a letter from the DA of San Diego (Bonnie Dumanis) regarding this just a few weeks ago. Thank goodness it was a blanket letter because I about fainted.

    This lovely letter (at the link below) threatened me with criminal liable, up to a year in jail and/or a $2K fine.

    Thankfullly, my son goes to school regularly, and is a A-B student. However, he does suffer from asthma and gets bronchial infections over and above the average student -- so yes, he has stayed home. But he's NEVER been truant.

    http://www.challengerms.org/ourpage...strict Attorney Attendance-Truancy Letter.pdf

    When I got the letter I'm thinking WTH - why are all these middle school kids not going to school?

    Now we have a homeless student trying to go to school and can't!

    :waitasec:

    Mel
     
  15. Shear22

    Shear22 Proud crime junkie!

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    It seems that the problem here is that she used the babysitter's address to establish residency in the school district although the friend's apartment where they were staying was in another district. I still don't think anything will be gained by criminal charges.
     
  16. Melanie

    Melanie Inactive

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    It really is all about the money! I remember when we came off the mountain back to San Diego, and I re-enrolled my son (for October I believe) and the registrar said "oh, darn, I really wish he could be here for September because we could use the funding". It may have been a quarterly thing - don't know.

    Huh? Wah?

    It was an odd conversation to say the least!

    Mel
     
  17. BuzzieCat

    BuzzieCat New Member

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  18. Shear22

    Shear22 Proud crime junkie!

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  19. Quiche

    Quiche New Member

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    Stingy, is the word I come up with. :mad:
     
  20. Nova

    Nova New Member

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    Oh, goody! Let's use the homeless to teach parents an example!
     
  21. tlcya

    tlcya Well-Known Member

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    In my district her child would be considered a "displaced" student. In many instances, homeless or transitory (sleeping on parent's friend's couches, etc) students in my area were going to four and five different schools in one school year. It was decided that this was interfering with their opportunity to learn. Too much moving around too many new teachers, etc.

    The answer the district found was to offer services such as bussing to students who are forced through homelessness to move around alot. Instead of making them change schools every month or two, the school district sends a bus to wherever they are staying and drives them to the school they had been attending, no matter where in town that may be. That way the student can have an entire school year in the same school and experience the benefit of continuity.

    My granddaughter was able to benefit from this when a few years back it became suddenly necessary for them to move in with me from where they were living. Even though they were residing in my home, they were technically considered "homeless" or "displaced". My granddaughter was able to finish out her school year at her normal school. The following year she transferred to the school in my neighborhood.

    It is sad to me that parents who are trying to keep their kids in school, and trying to keep some sort of continuity in their childrens lives, despite the chaos of living circumstances, are penalized and now criminalized.

    I get that schools are dependant upon federal funding, and that that funding is determined by rolls, but this situation just seems wrong. There must be a better way.
     

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