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Conn. Mom, Accused of Stealing Son's Education, Arrested on Drug Charges

Creatas/Thinkstock(BRIDGEPORT, Conn.) -- Tanya McDowell, the Connecticut woman charged with stealing her son's education after sending him to a school allegedly outside of her district, was arraigned on drug charges Monday.

McDowell, 33, is being held on $200,000 bond. She was arrested Friday after she allegedly sold crack cocaine and marijuana to undercover officers.

McDowell's arrest came three days after she participated in an education reform rally with Rev. Al Sharpton that was organized by the NAACP. In April, McDowell was charged with first-degree grand larceny and conspiracy for allegedly stealing $15,686 in educational services from Norwalk Public Schools because she sent her six-year-old son to Brookside Elementary School, a school allegedly outside of her district.

Sharpton told ABC News that his appearance at the rally was not in response to McDowell's case and that he is not familiar with the intricacies of her case.

"My position is this young man, the son, should be treated like any other kid if their parent didn't live in the district," Sharpton said. "We don't play politics with the boy. If this mother is unfit to be a mother, it doesn't solve what happens to the boy."

McDowell claims that she registered her son in Brookside despite not being a resident there because she was homeless at the time and floating between a shelter, a friend's apartment in Norwalk and a home in Bridgeport when she registered her son for school.

Under federal law, children can continue to attend classes in a school district where they began their education if the family was homeless.

Her story became fuel for education activists, sparking reform rallies and garnering national attention. The Connecticut chapter of the NAACP, which flocked to McDowell's support in April, would not comment on the drug charges.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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