Homeless Mum Given Five Years In Prison For Using Friends Address To Enrol Son In School

Tanya McDowell felicity huffman AP/PA

The recent sentencing of Felicity Huffman to 14 days in prison for her role in the college admissions scandal has shed light on other cases of parents who faced longer sentences for less serious offences.

In particular, Tanya McDowell, from Bridgeport, Connecticut, a homeless woman who was sentenced to five years in prison in 2011 for enrolling her son in a school district where he did not live.

The mother, who was living with her son Andrew out of their van and a range of different homeless shelters, wanted a better education for then 5-year-old Andrew and so used her babysitters address to enrol him in a school in the neighbouring town of Norwalk.

Tanya McDowell AP

The Connecticut Post reported that despite her sentencing, the mother vowed to continue fighting for a better education for her young son.

Addressing the courtroom at the time, McDowell said:

Who would have thought that wanting a good education for my son would put me in this predicament? I have no regrets seeking a better education for him.

The mother, who was 34 at the time of her sentencing, pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree larceny (a theft involving property or services valued at more than $20,000) and conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny for illegally enrolling her son in Norwalk public school despite not living there.

The sentencing was part of a plea deal McDowell struck with prosecutors after the mother was charged with selling drugs to an undercover police officer on two separate occasions.

Norwalk courthouseWikimedia

The sentence she received for the drug charges ran concurrently with the five-year sentence she received for the Norwalk school case. Still, the severe punishment the mother received for attempting to get her son a better education was completely disproportionate to her actions.

As such, her imprisonment sparked outrage among the community, with many now pointing out the stark differences between the treatment of McDowell – a homeless, black woman – and that of Felicity Huffman – a rich, white woman.Read More – Source