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Entries in Norwalk Public Schools (1)

Tuesday
Apr262011

NAACP Backs Conn. Woman Arrested for Illegally Enrolling Son in School

George Doyle/Stockbyte(NORWALK, Conn.) -- The NAACP is stepping in to help Tanya McDowell, the Connecticut mother arrested for allegedly sending her son to a school outside of her district.

McDowell will be arraigned Wednesday on charges that she stole educational services from Norwalk Public Schools by allegedly lying about her home address.

Tanya McDowell, 33, was arrested April 15 and charged with first-degree grand larceny for allegedly stealing $15,686 in educational services from Norwalk Public Schools. Her six-year-old son was enrolled in Brookside Elementary School in Norwalk, Conn., from September of last year until January of this year.

"The NAACP doesn't like that they're trying to attack somebody who's poor and doesn't have a good support system," said Scot X. Esdaile, president of the Connecticut State Conference of the NAACP. "This is discrimination."

McDowell claims that she's homeless and was floating between a homeless shelter, a friend's apartment in Norwalk and a home in Bridgeport when she registered her son for school. McDowell registered her son under her babysitter's address in Norwalk.

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

Norwalk Mayor Richard A. Moccia refused to talk to ABC News but defended the arrest to other media outlets.

"This woman never claimed she was homeless, never told us she was homeless, was using an illegal address in a public housing complex, has a checkered past and despite all the protestation that she's concerned about her son, if she had done things right, this would have never happened," Moccia told the Norwalk Patch.

Authorities were alerted to the alleged illegal enrollment when McDowell testified at an eviction hearing for her babysitter, Ana Rebecca Marquez, in January.

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