Feb 28, 2012

I literally am sitting at my desk with tears in my eyes as I type this article.  I don't think  I have felt this much shame about being an American since the execution of Troy Davis.  It is times like these I am reminded that no matter how noble our written intentions are in the Constitution, our system is really only as "good" as the people who run it.

If you don't know the story of Tanya  McDowell she made headlines last year when she was arrested for using a friend's address to send her son to a school in a better neighborhood.  At the time, McDowell was homeless but wanted her son to have access to a quality education.

Now before we look at her particular case, I have to tell you all that yesterday salon.com ran an article about Presidential candidate Rick Santorum.  During his stomp for the Republican nomination, Santorum has frequently referenced the fact that his wife home schools their seven children.  Well according to this article, the State of PA picked up part of the tab to home school his children even though his family resided in Virginia at the time.  The article went on to characterize Santorum's behavior as unethical but not quite illegal.  The school district in PA, which tried to recover its money from Santorum, spent two hundred thousand dollars buying computers, software etc for five of the Santorum children for three years.  Oh by the way, Santorum refused to repay the money and the State of PA eventually picked up the tab(what was that again about not making Black people rich by giving them other people's money?).

So this man can lie about his state of residency and use funds from another state to educate his children and NOTHING happens to him but a poor, homeless, mother wants to use someone else's address to send her child to the best school district in her area and it's considered theft of education??? Please tell me I am not the only person who sees something wrong with this scenario.

The basic premise used to charge Tanya McDowell for theft is that the school districts are allotted their budgets based on property taxes, etc and the money is then divided and allocated to different school districts.  They say that by sending her son to a more affluent school district she basically stole the money that was allotted for the education of children who really lived in that district.

Now I guess because they put it in legal terms they think that we have to accept it...Well I don't In fact, I think it's complete BS... First of all not everyone who lives in the district pays property taxes.  For instance, I am under the impression that the friend's address that she used lives in an apartment (it has been described as such in news articles).  If you rent an apartment or a house for that matter in the school district, you do not pay property taxes.  So if you rent a house in the area zoned for the school, are you stealing an education??

Secondly, the Supreme Court has already determined that a primary education is a fundamental right that even illegal aliens are entitled to have.  So illegal immigrants can be educated in the public schools of their choice, but this legal citizen can't choose to send her child to a school in a better area?? Lastly, this woman, by all accounts, was homeless.  If she has no residency, how can you prove that she did not live in the school district?? What if she slept in a homeless shelter in that school district for a week, can her son attend school there then??

I really fear the precedent that this case set.  I understand her lawyer's argument that he had to look out for the best interest of his client and that in this case, the plea deal was her best option... But I shudder to think what this means for the rest of us... Can we say slippery slope??

83 comments:

  1. Is this the America we want? An America whose schools are places where the quality of a child's education depends on their zip code. Tanya McDowell is not a criminal she is a mother trying to beat a system that is rooted in inequality. The people are tired of education reforms based on competitions, lotteries, and zip codes. I have seen the enemy, and the enemy is not the homeless, but a system that goes after a homeless mother.
    Jesse Turner
    Children Are More Than Test Scores

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  2. Sad day when a mother looking out for her child's future in America gets 12 years. Wall St. insiders ripped off millions from the American people, none of them will do a day in jail, they have the money to pay for "blind justice". Rapists spend less time in Jail than this. Pedophiles spend less time in Jail than this. I AM ASHAMED, THIS IS NOT JUSTICE!

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  3. Where is the governor's pardon? Where is the out cry from the new commissioner who supports education reforms rooted not in equality, but in lotteries? Where is CanConn that lobbies for lotteries and charters?
    Equity does leave parents competing in a race to the botton.
    Wake up Connecticut!

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  4. Even in our sometimes unfair justice system, 12 years for "stealing education seemed beyond extreme. A fine and sending the child back to the school in his district is all I would've expected. Seems like some details of this story are missing. So I had to read more. She pleaded guilty to selling drugs. So whatever sympathy she could have had was erased by the drug charges. And her lawyer said that the 12 year sentence to be suspended after 5 years plus the $6200 in restitution to the state was the best offer she could get. Seems to me if there were no drug charges then she would've gotten a more fair penalty. I do not know if the sentence is fair for the drug charges but it is a sad situation because her case could've been yet another example to be used in our national conversation about quality education for all. But the drug charges tarnished her story.

    http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/MariAn-Gail-Brown-No-good-ending-in-the-McDowell-3361717.php

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    1. Drug charges or not doesn't change the fact that they are punishing a woman for caring about her childs education. Now if she's ho meless How can the child go to schools in his district?

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    2. What the news and the author of this article isn't telling you, is that santorum owned houses in both states and paid taxes in each, so essentially, he has the right to choose which state he wanted to fund his children's education. My parents own houses in 2 states as well and pay taxes in both so really, they should be able to take advantage of every public good they pay into. This woman was homeless and wasn't paying property taxes at all, so if you believe in a socialized society where everyone pays in and everyone gets out, then yes, she did steal from the system. How is it fair that someone else was paying property taxes that went to educating her child? Learn the facts about what you believe is the basis of the public education system. If you believe in the socialized system, then you have to pay into it in order to take out of it, that's how our constitution lays it out. I was the recipient of a private education and plan to educate my children privately as well, yet, I still have to pay taxes to the state in which I live in. So essentially, my parents were not only paying the thousands of dollars to educate me privately, but because they paid taxes, they were paying for someone else's child to be educated. We weren't taking advantage of this public good by choice, but we did not have the choice to not pay taxes. This woman was indeed stealing from the system due to that fact that she wasn't paying taxes and the accusation against santorum is completely irrelevant due to the fact that he paid property taxes in two states and only chose to take funds from one. Learn the facts and read the damn constitution!

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    3. And what would you have her pay taxes on, exactly? Maybe it doesn't seem possible to an overprivileged dung heap like yourself, but there are people who truly have nothing. It is the agenda of you and your Republican cronies to ensure that those people and their families continue to have nothing. Whenever a program is mentioned that may actually help people in need, you and yours start throwing around words like "socialism" as if the programs are designed to pay others' way through life indefinitely. In actuality, these programs are for helping people get back on their feet so they can stabilize their situations, improve upon their situations, and contribute to such programs rather than simply benefit from them. Getting a quality education would be a significant step out of the gutter or welfare line for most, but you would deny these people the opportunity. In fact, it is the goal of the Republican party to privatize education completely, thereby denying access to education to anyone who lacks the money for it, and denying them the chance to better themselves. Since you like to throw the phrase around, why don't you read the damn constitution?

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    4. if you think your "Private" institution doesn' receive government subsidies, you're fooling yourself.

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  5. The drug charges came AFTER her arrest for the the "theft of education"... She was arrested in April and charged with larceny... Then after the uproar about her arrest, miraculously she is arrested in July for selling drugs to an UNDERCOVER POLICE OFFICER... So you can swallow that story whole if you want to.. but I prosecuted alleged drug dealers and defended them in court and the ENTIRE arrest is supsect and reeks of RETRIBUTION... I guess they were hoping for people like you who would just swallow their side of things and pass judgment on a woman you don't even know.. I did my RESEARCH long before I wrote about this case... And I know what a suspended sentence is but she still serves prison time for "theft of education" and amazingly she never sold drugs until AFTER she was arrested for this bogus larceny charge.... And while you're researching, throw this into the mix, her lawyer was prepared to go to trial on the larceny charges... he was told that if he fought the larceny charges and won, she would face up to 15 years on the drug charges which were from a different county AND they would not give her a plea deal... So in my personal and legal opinion, the drug charges don't tarnish her story at all... Apparently if you're a white man who goes to law school, you can steal 200k worth of education and that's okay... but please don't be a poor, homeless, Black woman and send your child to a good kindergarten allegedly worth 15k because you will go to prison

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  6. WE, as a nation, must overstand we are not citizens of this corporate nation. We are property. We must go back into history and re-learn the difference between what is a law and what is NOT a law. Where is the corpus delicti, or injured party? Which one must be available for a crime to have been committed. Where is the law broken which was established by the Constitution which is the supreme law of the land? No law was broken and no corpus delicti exists. This is a sad situation but we must realize this is not our NATION. There are laws which prohibit descendants of Afrikans/Moors from being citizens (Dred Scott, Free Sundry Moors, etc) and as such are property (14th/15th amendments are for nationless people, which we are not). We have our own nation, government, AND constitution. This is a subtle version of slavery that is available because WE THE PEOPLE fell down on our jobs to defend our inalienable rights. We are as free as our forefathers were. We are a Moorish nation (not a religion, a NATION!!), either learn more about it and how to proclaim it or we will continue to suffer due to lack of knowledge. How long must injustice stare us and slap us in the face before we tell the bully NO?! Read more from the site I provided (not my site but for the liberation of our nation). Only the Truth shall set us FREE.

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    1. Interesting comment, where can I read more about this (Moorish Nation)?

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  7. People like me thought there was more behind the headline because never have I ever heard anyone going to jail for lying about their address and sending their child to a better school. So I read a little more and found in fact there was more. She accepted a plea and thus lost her opportunity to fight the bogos larceny charge. If they were seeking retribution and set her up to tarnish her image, she accepted the deal and now cannot fight that either. Even if you had included the additional details, I probably still would've read more. I still hold to my opinion that her story is now tarnished. So people like me have a personality that interprets data based on logic and not emotion or values. And that's not a slam to you or anybody else. How we interpret data/information is an aspect of personality and that just happens to be mine. Using my logic, I thought there was more to this story and sure enough there was.

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  8. Your opinion of me could never offend because I don't care what you think of me. As far as your thinking being logical, let's see you read one article and then made a snap judgment about the validity if her case without knowing the sequence of events or the details of the drug arrest. If that is what passes for your logic in your world, then I am truly honored that you don't find me logical.
    As far as your determination that because she accepted the plea deal, that makes the situation justified, well what can I say, it just confirms what I already thought about you so I won't even pretend to be surprised
    Oh and since you have NEVER heard about anyone else going to jail for this, you really should practice that research you're so proud of. Another woman was convicted last year of the same charge until the governor, after much public outcry, pardoned her. I'm surprised your thorough research didn't uncover that.

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  9. This will be my last comment for this particular post. From our previous exchanges, we have opposing viewpoints. My point, as I have said from the beginning, was there was more to the story. I read a little more and found out there was. Pure and simple. I wasn't knocking your level of research nor saying that the information I found was so thorough. My comment about logic was about me. I did not say you were not logical or even that your points were invalid. It seems to me that you have read more into what I wrote and took some things personally.

    You know of another instance where a woman was convicted. I did not know. Nor was I going to dig deeper to find that information. I wanted to know what led to a 12 year sentence for this woman and I found out. No more; no less.

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  10. What a crazy case! I did some research and case law is actually against her for the fraud case anyway. Several states have tried cases where the school district sued the parent for enrollment fraud and won. I was shocked over the 12 years but I guess it makes sense with her drug charges and plea deal. Tough break for a woman that was only trying to give her child an opportunity.

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  11. I agree that Santorum should be forced (via pitchfork) to pay or sent to the pokey. Or both. This woman (as I understand the case) was sentenced to 12 years, but the sentence is suspended after 5 of those. And in addition to the education part, "McDowell's 12 year sentence also includes four counts of drug possession and sale charges, which she pleaded guilty to on Wednesday." So there're FOUR DRUG COUNTS in that as well. What does 5 years amount to in today's prisons? 1? 6 months?

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  12. Here's my thing, whatever the charged; for the taxpayers this sentence will cost us about 40,000.00 a year because that is the cost of keeping someone behind bars for one year. So my question would be how again does this make sense? That for me is the main focus, I'm tired of paying for our justice system stupidity.

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  13. This is beyond ridiculous and the fact that she sold drugs shouldn't be factored into any part of what she was trying to do for her son. You have some clown running for President who did the same thing and hasn't been forced to pay but given a platform to speak what other people should do in their homes and with their bodies. America is getting more ridiculous each year!

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  14. Thats crazy what is this world coming to they are only trying to keep the black race under there control.

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  15. Many Mothers,Fathers,Aunts,Uncles,Grandmother and Grandfathers have done exacly this since the beginning of time. The JERK running for president should be investigated and imprisioned also. OBAMA would you please speak out on this issue. If others can pardon real criminals you need to get busy and pardon this poor woman and stop wasting her time and the taxpayers money.

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  16. Can you say, modern day Jim Crow Laws! Immigrants from other countries are coming here and receiving an education for free. Now they are about to allow them funds to attend college. Just based on the fact that this woman is African American (decedent of slaves) she should have the constitutional right to send her child to any school to be educated. But this homeless woman is being arrested! Shame on the USA!! But I guess
    shameful acts never truly rectified in this country. They just move on as if...!

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  17. Lovely Locks are you single? Its all about skin color GOP makes it clear everyday. White boy shoots up a school and folk feel sorry for him...smh

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  18. I can not believe this is happening....This is a shame for the School system. I really don't understand how things work where she lives but in San Diego School Districts if you can get you kids to the Better school by driving them or let them take the bus they are allow to go to a better school in the Districts. This is something that should never happen. She should never have to go in front of a Judge. Shame Shame Shame

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  19. its not about race. I am white and I couldn't even get a pell grant for college even though I haven't lived with my dad in three years. I live pay check to paycheck scraping by. there are no white scholarships but there are "african american" scholarships explain to me how this is fair?! you need to put all your frustration and anger to the illegal immigrants that come to the U.S. and steal our benefits abuse our public school systems illegally get food stamps and w.I.c. that pisses me off!! I had a white friend full time university student with school loans and worked 30 hours a week paid rent and all her own bills and took her over one month of pregnancy to even get just w.I.c. and she lost her baby a little over 3 months pregnant because we as a society care more about making illegal visitors welcome then our own(black white polka dot stripped I mean u.s. citizens as a whole) we need to focus on border patrol and helping ourselves before we help someone else

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  20. This is ridiculous. What is our world coming too. It's time to speak up and stand up.

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  21. How can we help her? She needs our voices, letters and calls! She has the right to pursue the best education for her child, that is her "pursuit of happiness"! She needs to raise her child, not be locked up and have her child be a ward of the state and her also a ward of the state. On the fiscal side: that is costing us more taxes! On the practical side: we need healthy adults and being raised by your mother regardless of conditions is key. Women are treated like chattel. We are expected to do so much by ourselves within the mental constructs of European Capitalists. I say European because it's the English rule of law that takes precedence in our legal system, which is just a bank for our government.

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  22. W.O.W. IS ALL I CAN SAY!!! HOW ABOUT EQUALITY FOR ALL!!!!!

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  23. What can I do????? Please tell me!! What can I do to turn this injustice around?

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  24. What in the world is this mess? Thats exactly what this is, but for some reason it doesnt surprise me.

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    1. My thoughts extactly.

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  25. No it can't go down like this. We as the people of the usa have to not let them do this and this is the way. This article is on facebook--millions of people are reading this. This is the way it starts to mend. Im doing my thesis on homelessness in the classroom and stories like this get under my skin--the thing is, is to never ever keep silent. Word of mouth, email everyone you can think of, dont worry if you are going to make them upset--let them get angry at something like this. I am ripping pissed right now that they would do this to a mother and child. OMG how dare they!
    I picked my topic because of an incident of a mother with a new born child being evicted in the middle of winter on three kings day by three churches that own this building. I plan on going public when I move out of this building--right now I dont trust them that they wont do something sneaky. But stories like this just affect me.
    How could someone 'steal an education?' What? I cant comprehend them doing this-except to say it is racist--if the mother was white this wouldnt happen. Who in their right mind would vote for a theif like Santorum too. (Sorry had to put that in here)

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    1. Agree 100% if she would have been white this would have never happen. This is a bunch of BS......

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  26. OMG this makes me so mad I know plenty of people that barely care if there children attend school. This mother tries and is rewarded with a jail sentence where is the Justice. Is there a petition to stop this if so where do I sign.

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  27. I posted before I reread the comments and saw there was a drug charge---definitely a set up lol. I've been there too. I'm allergic to smoke, wrote a letter about the woman being evicted with her newborn, and they placed a smoker above me--it does make me very sick, but what a way to get someone to do what you want. Hey they just want to make an example of her-keep supporting her and the people here who cry about not getting this or that--you try to make it on state and see how strong you are. Please okay, we are all different races--but we belong to one, it is the human race. (I think I nicked that from Martin Luther King :P)

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  28. This is beyond absurdity, but its a reflection of where we are as a country. More racist then ever. That is why its important for us to get off the bench and get involved in this upcoming election. Just like they set this sister up for failure and unfair treatment, they are doing some unscrupulous things to suppress the AA vote and we are letting them by listening to what they say and not do our due diligence and get the real answer. We can no longer sit by with a lazy and complacent mind thinking we have arrived. We have not, as proven evident in this case. They are trying to eliminate public schools and if not eliminate them, continue to reduce the funding given to them (your tax dollars) so that the Title 1 schools can continue to not educate minority youth. I truly hope and pray this goes to the Supreme Court and some higher authorities step in to aid and assist this sister. It's truly a miscarriage of justice and discrimination. I want to see them go and arrest the non-AA parents who are doing the same thing.

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  29. The first thing that needs to be done is we need to send out a call for an attorney who will ask for reconsideration on the basis of "incompetent representation." Or we need to find an attorney who will file a civil suit against the public defenders office (because I am sure that this was not a paid attorney) and the State for a violation of her 8th amendment protection against "cruel and unusual punishment" (if Black women are still protected by the Constitution.) And then as a people period, but specifically AFrican American people,Latino,and working class poor people (who are most often subject to this disparate sentencing), need to collectively lobby and organize resistance around the unfair criminal justice and judicial processes because MOST, not many or few, but MOST who cannot afford to pay the high cost of legal representation are "herded" EVERY DAY! into taking plea bargains. And this is done at the insistence and through the collaboration of systems-policing,courts, prosecutors, and public defenders offices, who do not want to incur the costs, spend the time or energy in adequately investigating, preparing, and representing clients-and ultimately going against their own in a trial. Therefore, prosecutors trump charges to be used as leverage to bargain down in order to literally COERCE people to plead guilty to cases and more importantly charges that some are not even guilty of and could never be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a jury trial. They argue fervently, "you should take the plea because IF you go to trial and get found guilty you will get far more time." And when the person who is supposed to represent you says that, how can you trust that you can win, especially if you don't know. So those who cannot afford adequate and competent representation don't stand a chance. There is no way that any jury of HER PEERS would have convicted her of an offense that carries that time. I have become saddened that I did not choose law school, but I am willing to jump in this fight with the help of an attorney who places ethics and cause above money...If anybody knows anyone, send this article to them. Let's find her an attorney who really cares and demand that this case be reevaluated...otherwise she becomes another Troy Davis (and all other the other unnamed victims of unjust criminal justice systems) that WE forget about in time. My email is dr.zoespencer@gmail.com if anyone knows an attorney, or is one, or wants to organize resistance....Nah...I'm not just gonna post on this one and let the sister sit in jail for 12 years for THIS????

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  30. Im praying for her..... Had she been 1 of the ladies on snapped & killed her kid she would of got less time than that!!!

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  31. This month Tavis Smiley will be hosting a "National Conversation on Women and Children in Poverty." The McDowell case certainly is apropos to this topic. Maybe everyone can join me in asking Smiley to bring national attention to the McDowell case and start a petition for justice. The forum will also be aired on CSPAN. Maybe he can even start a collection for a defense fund so she can appeal her case. We're all outraged. I offer these ideas as a course of action. Smiley is on Facebook and has a website on PBS.org. Just maybe someone will bring McDowell to his attention.

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/tavis-smiley/broadcaster-tavis-smiley-moderates-made-visiblea-national-conversation-on-women-/10150701837411754

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  32. This is remaniscent of another case in Ohio, where a mother enrolled her children in a safer school in the neighborhood where her father lives. She could have moved in with him, but chose to try and live independantly. Her father, the two children's afterschool cregiver, is a homeowner and does pay property tax, but his own children are grown and gone. Mother was sentenced to jail time. How is this justice?

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  33. This is the America of 2012 and the Tea Party just wants to make headlines because we have a great President who is trying to clean up decades of downfall. They want things like this to happen to make us question out President. This is absolutely ridiculous and that state should never receive governmental funding or the state that educated those Republican trash kids.

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  34. Our legislators commit theft everyday. They claim to be at work, when they are taking extra long lunches, drinking and who knows what else. We have a woman who wanted to give her child (an african american boy) a chance to graduate and become a productive citizen in the country and she goes to jail. If she is going to jail for the drug charges, then say that. But to sentence anyone to 12 years for made up crime where no one was injured, is just ridiculous. Santorum is a clown. Maybe he should serve 12 years for each child that he has that does not live in the school district where they are being educated (at home). But that would make sense (sarcasm). I pray that this young man does succeed in this country and not become a statistic. God help us all!!! Maybe this judge needs to resign and get into a new line of work. Sounds like he has no sympathy in his heart or mind.

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  35. To the anonymous person whining about pell grant and black scholarships. I'm black and I didn't receive a pell grant or a black scholarship. I know plenty of my peers who have never received either and worked their way through school or their parents worked extra hours to pay for it as mine did. WIC takes about 30 days to process dear, if they are short staffed maybe longe. I know not because I had it, but because I was once deputy director at a state department of health. There are white scholarships called entitlement or you can just attend an hbcu and go free on the white scholarships like many of my white peers.

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  36. I had a somewhat similar situation. I was a single parent living with my mother until I saved enough money to buy a home of my own. Of course, I could only afford a home in a poor area. I would drop my som of at my moms place before school so that I could go to work. Got a phone call from the principal when they learned that I had moved. Said that I had to take him out if that district. I wanted the best education for my son AND it was more convenient given my work situation. I ended up having to make my mother his legal guardian. I was lucky to have escaped a huge fine. A friend of mine that did the same thing was given a seventy thousand dollar fine. Same situation. Kid left with grandma in the morning in order to be sent off to school. All of us are white. Yes, people do discriminate against blacks but they also hate the poor.

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  37. My heart goes out to this mother. This type of thing does not just happen to the poor and homeless. My child was molested and as a mother I should protect her the way I know best. I hired a attorney, paid him over $28,000, and he was never prepared in court. The Judge assigned my child an attorney and she suggested a child play therapist that was outside of my insurance plan. This cost me additional money. My 3.5 year old child told the court through play therapy why if was not safe to take a bath at daddys house. She stated that if she told then daddy would go to jail. The doctor that specializes in microscopic exams testified that she had a tear in her hymen at 12' oclock and 6 ' oclock. The play Therapist hired by the court testified for two days. The verdict from the judge was that I treated my child like she was my property, and that he could not phatom a 3.5 year old child understanding that daddy would go to jail if she told. He ruled that she tore her own hymen, even though the doctor said that the hymen area is very sensitive and little girls do not tear thier own hymen. I had to pay his attorney fees and she had to start visiting again. She stop visiting at age 12 because she refused. She is Gay now. In this case I did not do anything illegal I paid the judicial system and they went through the process of making money for they attorney and the judge. My Daughter lost. I filed bankruptcy, after 4 years the attorney suggested I pay him. I quick claim deeded him my summer home. Without my knowledge he put a lein against my home for 3 years. I went back to court and the judge said I still owed him $19,000, + 9% interest. I had an attorney representing me each time. I filed complaints against two attorneys and one judge and of course they protected their own. Her father works for the state of Illinois with sexually abused children. I quess I am blessed because I was able to raise my child and keep her in therapy. I have no faith in the judicial system.

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  38. I am a white, retired schooleacher. Just Saying. THis is out and out racism. Of that I have no doubt. Beyond that, this woman's child, according to this decision should not be able to go to any school. ARE YOU KIDDING ME. 12 YEARS IN PRISON. So now, there is a child out there without a chance of a decent eduaction to which he is entitled, but now has to live without his parent, who obviousely cared him. Not only are the people who did this evil and stupid, but shortsighted and incompetant. Would this have happenned if she was white? Don't know for sure, but my best guess is a big NO. Get these idiots out of there. Imprison the judge for child endangerment and abuse. That makes more sense. Sorry that I can't comment more because I might say something I will regret. Color me furious.

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  39. Anonymous says:
    March 1, 2012 10:54 AM Reply

    its not about race. I am white and I couldn't even get a pell grant for college even though I haven't lived with my dad in three years. I live pay check to paycheck scraping by. there are no white scholarships but there are "african american" scholarships explain to me how this is fair?! you need to put all your frustration and anger to the illegal immigrants that come to the U.S. and steal our benefits abuse our public school systems illegally get food stamps and w.I.c. that pisses me off!! I had a white friend full time university student with school loans and worked 30 hours a week paid rent and all her own bills and took her over one month of pregnancy to even get just w.I.c. and she lost her baby a little over 3 months pregnant because we as a society care more about making illegal visitors welcome then our own(black white polka dot stripped I mean u.s. citizens as a whole) we need to focus on border patrol and helping ourselves before we help someone else


    So um I work at a grocery store...and let me tell you. WHITE, BLACK, MEXICAN, ASIAN, EUROPEAN,AND EVERY OTHER RACE I HAVE SEEN ABUSE FOODSTAMPS AND WIC! MAYBE YOUR FRIEND SHOULD HAVE LIED LIKE EVERYONE ELSE DOES...NOT JUST ILLEGALS!! AND YOUR FRIEND SHOULD HAVE TAKEN CARE OF HERSELF INSTEAD OF RELYING ON THE GOVERNMENT.

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  40. The most gruesome, obviously guilty killers plead 'not guilty'. Why not 'draw a trail and force the prosecution to prove 'theft' while defense unarguably proves her innocence (and the absurdity of the charge). What was her lawyer doing, allowing her to think she needed to plead guilty? Black on black crime wears many coats.

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  41. Her Lawyer is a jerk, he was in on it! This is the New Jim Crow laws. She didn't have good representation and the courts are corrupt. American laws should have protected her, if you believe in the American Law. The DA, and courts should be under investigation by the people.

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  42. I agree that the punishment is excessive and should be appealed. I would like to point out an error in the article. It was stated the renters pay no property taxes. True; but indirectly they do.The landlord pays the taxes and it is paid thought the rent collected. If the property taxes goes up, the rent will also reflect the increase. Plus the renters does not get to claim anything as a deduction on their taxes.

    The travesty here is that the courts are trying to use this as an example. Hence thinking it will stop this problem. It's not fair to the person that the example is being applied to.

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  43. I'm furious. jailing a mother for 12 years? What happens to her kid? How about jailing the bankers who really damaged school budgets all over the country which has led to teacher lay-offs, less class offerings, and larger class size? Furthermore, they got bailed out, not sentenced to jail.

    If there can be campaigns waged to support undocumented children who are being deported to countries they know nothing about, and home owners who are being foreclosed on, or innocent people on death row, why can't we start a campaign to free this woman? it would be a great opportunity to talk about her situation and the bigger picture. People shouldn't have to do these things in order to get a good education for their kids.

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  44. So what exactly is the objective of this article by alleged Savvy Sistaz ? Is it to do a comparative analysis ,between the lives , and opportunities for rich white Italian American Senators ,turned , Washington insider lobbyist , and Faux 5 conservative analyst ,vs poor homeless , illiterate Black women trying to raise a kid ,she should not have, for a baby daddy ,who most likely is equally illiterate , and languishing in prison , while being visited by five other baby Mamas? Is she interested in trying to get some drive going that can finally address, social inequalities , and then push Afrikans ,in these United States to make sensible choices moving forward, since they can have negative consequences? Is it merely pointless flame throwing about race, even if we know nothing has change since Jim Crow ended , or the two elite suspect Blacks elites, held down the White house? Enough already! Wake me up when energized to do something about real problems. Ahhh, the dysfunctions of Black folks , got to end! Was this what Stokley Carmichael, MLK , Medger Evers, and Malcolm died for? http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/mom-drowns-kids-river-boy-escapes-13365628

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  45. Um since you know so much about the law and the Constitution, you know that there are several requirements of residency... FIrst of all the house that Santorum owned in PA was being rented to his wife's niece and her husband... they were registered to vote at that address and paid rent since Santorum listed that income on his taxes. To establish residency in a state, you have to more than physically live there which is why college students can't just get a driver's license in the State where they attend school. That said, he nor his children physically lived there... He did not meet the residency requirements of the state and as a lawyer (since I went to law school too) I know that he knew he was not a resident when he fraudulently applied for that money.
    So I have read the Constitution and passed two state bars...hope that your private school gives refunds
    Also, since you don't have to pay taxes for your child to go to school, your whole argument is flawed

    @Understanding Earth... a friend of mine made a great point the other day...she said if she had waited until the kid was 12 and could run fast with a ball in his hand, the school district would have helped her forge documents to get him into the school... Her lawyer has given a few statements and he has admitted that they used the drug charge to force a plea on the larceny... There is a Federal law that says if you're homeless, you can send your child to basically any school where you are...and the Feds trump the State all day (read that in the Constitution) so I believe him when he says he was prepared to fight the larceny charges... but as you can see from the posters here, despite the extremely questionable circumstances, were much tougher to make go away

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    Replies
    1. Federal law does not trump state law as the states created the limited power of the federal servile government. This belief of superiority is the crux of all encroachments to liberty.

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  46. There was a comment above indicating that this was not about race, not true. Throughout history the most perceptibly egregious groups are always used to test experiments on of various kinds. This is such a test. A homeless black women (Ms. McDowell), a human being with three vulnerable social characteristics, was sent away for trying to help her child experience upward mobility. Ms. LLocks, the poster of this weblog, noted that a "conservative" presidential candidate has done the same thing (actually taking more money) with little to no reprisal.

    Apparently, thus far, the public's passive response is to approval since she is a black woman who is engaging in larceny of taxpayers in CT. Since she is African American she can be entrapped and "persuaded" not to pursue this case, make a plea deal and no one would care. In fact, people will lose sympathy with her and approve of her charge since the agencies of law enforcement are "fair" "public officials" and no longer servants in this post-911 age.

    Of course most will think-because people choose to be ahistorical, narcissistic, and in an entertainment trance- that the heavy handed "justice" will end there it will never spread to other groups. Eventually, there will be a growing body of cases where people of different races and nationalities will be facing prison sentences for sending their children to a school they are not zone for without receiving a variance. Whatever injustice happens to one group within a culture eventually spreads to all.

    Think that's an exaggeration? Compare incidents of police brutality fifty and forty years ago to today - in the past blacks and poor whites and now it is everybody, now quipped as a police state. Remember Special Weapons And Tactics? (SWAT) First aimed at those "no good" Black Panthers in Oakland CA who were providing free breakfast and pushing an education that elicited self esteem for children who were labeled as outsiders. Back then the police were seen as good - socially endorsed, getting tough on those evil folks. Now, we have paramilitary police force with flak jackets, assault rifles, jackboots and fierce snarls targeting everyone. Think about the boarding schools that were forced upon Native Americans for indoctrination during the 19th Century here in the US or the Southern Education Board which eventually became the blueprint for the General Education Board. What are our schools like today? (check out Charlotte Iserbyt's Deliberate Dumbing Down - do a web search and you can get her book for free)

    People need to stop being passive, turn off the tv, forget watching useless spectator sports,learn some history and find your inner humanity and democratic right - we are all connected regardless of visual differences. This news story is an example of a larger push for compliance to a government with the goal of removing individual rights and having children raised and owned by "the state."

    Martin Luther King Jr was right: "An Injustice committed anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

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  47. There is no justice in this country as we are under coded that have the color of law. Common law is Constititional law not codes. This ruling is ignorant, racist, unethical how the other county played hardball and under duress she relented. Sales tax pays for more education than property tax at a percentage of all products purchased. Public education is for the PUBLIC. As debtors and cteditors there can be no justice just commerce

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  48. Man, it wasn't all that long ago when it was illegal to teach slaves to read and write, and I swear, sometimes it seems like our country is sliding back in that direction. Is all our progress, our evolution as a country nothing more than an illusion??? Grrrrr.......

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  49. The author's line of argument is problematic in several areas. For the sake of clarity, I'll elaborate in bullet point:

    -She attacks the legal legitimacy of Santorum's children having received funds for their education from the state of PA while they resided in VA. I don't like Santorum and by the sound of it, the author's criticism is valid. However, she does not cite the source(s) of those funds, for example whether they came from large state-run organizations or sponsors. By my guess, it's unlikely that funding was derived from the incomes of local citizens living in a particular neighborhood. In other words, Santorum did not directly compromise the financial resources of one particular school district. Why does this matter? Because borrowing money from the state causes less severe collateral damage since the state is a much wealthier and robust institution than any one particular public school system, which by contrast is funded by a definite and limited number of county denizens. Even moreso limited because, as the author points out, not every county resident owns property and pays the taxes which fund their children's education (if they own children). In this sense, Tanya's vs. Santorum's situation is a matter of apples and oranges.

    -I am not an expert in law but again I would guess that the legal process that occurs between two states, for example that of PA and VA, would refer to different laws and case examples and would have an altogether different proceeding than would the prosecution of Tanya McDowell, a litigation that originated in CT and remains confined to that one single state with its own laws and case exanples. So, in this aspect as well, the two situations are apples compared to oranges.

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  50. continued...



    -If I don't sound particularly sympathetic toward Tanya McDoweell it's because I'm not. My mother is a public school teacher in NYC. We live right on the border of Yonkers and the Bronx. For those who aren't familiar, Yonkers is significantly more decrepit and crime-ridden than the Bronx, at least in this area. Every year she and the rest of the staff is charged with identifying which kids from Yonkers are being snuck into the school with false Bronx addresses. The simple harsh truth of the matter is that my mother's school district is very small in building size and funding, and there just isn't enough space and resources to accommodate the Yonkers kids. Everyone is hurting from the recession. If you can't pay the taxes, your kids can't go here. Furthermore, many of these Yonkers kids come from households whose parents, although meaning well and genuinely want a good education for their kids, are too dysfunctional to hold decent jobs or maintain income. It's not just that there aren't enough jobs these days; there are discernible differences in culture and maturity between financially segregated counties. Unfortunately, the children who come from less privileged backgrounds suffer, but their parents and families are more often the ones ultimately at fault, even in this artificially difficult economy.

    -For the most part, the author uses this article as an attack on Santorum's character, rather than taking any effort to thoughtfully and carefully investigate the details of Tanya's case. This makes the whole piece sound extremely dubious, and intended for political spin rather than to offer legitimate sympathy towards Tanya. It screams of leftist slant, and though I'm no Republican, I don't want to read a romantic/polemic leftist diatribe. I want to read something informative.

    -Towards the end, the author makes a point that illegal immigrants have a right to an education of their "choosing." I highly doubt they can choose to send their kids to schools located in a county district other than the one they live in, with its own tax bracket and very limited amount of funds derived from the very limited population that lives there.

    -I don't know whether children of homeless parents can attend school or not. Wouldn't they legally be forced to be put up for adoption? I'm not familiar with the laws of CT, in any case. However, as the author, why don't you make some effort to answer your own questions? I'm sure the info is out there, if you really cared about Tanya and this case. I don't really care about her, so I'm not assuming the burden of proof. But because you never went the extra investigative mile, and because you just used this situation as an opportunity to shit on Santorum (though their two situations are largely a matter of apples and oranges, as I pointed out), I am completely unconvinced of your argument. Just another thoughtless leftist "let's save the world and have equal opportunity and have our cake and eat it too!" moralizer. Go to Hell.

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  51. Come on guys, stealing is stealing! You don't need to be a rocket scientist to know she is stealing. The only reason this article was written is because someone is racist (the author) and wanted to pull the race card. I agree the punishment is a bit harsh but you're still overlooking the crime. And worst of all you're trying to justify the crime by referencing another, hardly comparible, incident. Why is there an MLK day but not a JFK day?? If you don't like the rules then maybe you shouldnt be an American...if you even are!

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  52. First of all, why was there no mention of the proctection she and her son could have received via the McKinney-Vento act, a federal protection law for homeless children?

    Secondly, never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought that education could be STOLEN at the lower grades. Let's be serious people- this is a disgrace to the American philosophy of "education for all". Something is definitely wrong with this picture and it seems as if I am dreaming it... There has to be a recourse.

    Puzzled and Ashamed...

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  53. We now live in a country where people are renewable resources for the prison industry. A number of years ago I read that if you didn't make at least 12$ an hour you were worth more in prison than as a tax payer. Its probably about 20$ now, and that was before the proliferation of private prisons. It is absurd for a public school to say anyone not in a specific zip code or an arbitrary geographical location is stealing an education ! One more or one less child is not going to make a significant difference, especially when public schools are taxpayer funded and it is a societal benefit
    to have an educated population. What good is it to have this woman in jail and her child in the foster care system ? How much is this going to cost taxpayers ? And who benefits ? Just recently a corporation, don't remember the name, offered to buy all the prisons in every state ? It would be wise to ponder how the buyer expects capitalize his investment, perhaps by making what was once legal illegal. Anyone can now get caught up in this corrupt system.

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  54. So, what I don't understand is if she is homeless, is the kid not supposed to attend any school then? This is just ludicrous.

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  55. Renters pay property tax by proxy - that is to say, the cost of the property tax is included in the rent. This is something to remember in general: we ALL pay ALL taxes. Who pays for taxes on business? We all do, in higher prices for the products we buy. This is why it is important to remember that we need to cut down spending, not just raise taxes. It's the overspending that is the problem.

    And this case is a disgrace on multiple levels: it highlights that the education system does not allow equal access to education (and this is deliberate - read John Taylor Gatto on the subject), and a twelve year sentence is not only grossly unfair and cruel to Ms McDowell, it is also unfair to the taxpayer, because putting her in prison would pay for at least THREE OR MORE children to attend school for the same period.

    Government was only ever - at best - a necessary evil. More and more, it seems it's just an evil.

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  56. I wasn't aware of the drug charges - and that's more bullshit. What a person puts in their own body is their own business. Period. There shouldn't be any laws about that - and there weren't until the 1870's, when the first drug law was enacted to give the authorities an excuse to do what they liked to Chinese immigrants.

    And the plea deal issue - another disgrace. Something like 97% of cases never make it to trial. The prosecutors just stack up charges and make the implied threat that the defendants' life will be over if just one of those charges sticks - and many innocent people plead guilty to a lesser crime (that frequently shouldn't even be a crime) out of fear, even though they know they didn't do anything wrong. You want terrorism? THAT sort of governmental abuse is terrorism!

    George Bush was right about somebody hating our freedom - but it's not the Muslims.

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  57. We are worth $1.1 trillion. What boggles my mind is that we continue to whine to each other. The brother who writes that we are property is right; property have no rights that are respected by any society. Until we embrace ourselves across religious, political and social differences, invest in educational programs that teach our children to compete in spite of American values and reclaim our history,not as bragging rights on what we gave to Europe via Greco-Roman culture, but as a living Testament how we once again will once and for all vanguish all enemies and build a universal security system that will allow us to defend our people against all attacks. If you are law enforcement or military you must be able to use your specialty to not only protect national interests but at the same time protect global universal Black interests. Those of us married cross-racially must know who we share our lives with. Extinction is not an option. I Silethe...

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  58. This messed up its like black folks dont get to do nothing and when we do we only can get so far.i never heard of such thing before.its just like the white man thought when the changed the law about truth in sentence,meaning if u commit a crime u seave allll your time.they were thinking they was gonna catch all black ppl until all the white ppl started to become prison bound then they changed the law again and oh..if u serve 25% or 50% of your time with good behavior u can go home.but guess what?only the white ppl was receiving it and they lived in good neirborhood.but...check this out the old warden in t.c.i prison back in 2000-2001 lied to all those inmates n sent them out of state told them when they come back they will be able to ho home something to that effect.but in reality she sold them for money and them ppl wasent released until yrs. later.and guess what happen to her (white lady)didnt go to jail nor prision she got fired!so..im just saying as black ppl we got it hard.so...far as this young lady goes to prision lose 12yrs. of her life away from her kida is messed up designed by the white man.keep the faith because it aint over until god say it.he gets the last say so.god bless

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  59. If a woman has to go to jail for sending her child to a better school system because the laws say it's wrong . . .
    why are we not looking at and changing the laws?

    Obviously, the system we have in place right now is not working.

    Education is a fundamental right in the US.
    ALL children deserve the same opportunity for a quality education.

    If funding is based on local property values and average incomes, HOW can ANY poor neighborhood EVER afford the quality education available to upper income neighborhoods?

    Does this make sense to anyone?

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  60. A drunk driver hit and killed my mother and only got 4 years, part of which was spent in a half way house. Its a debt he owes that no monetary compensation would/could recover. But this poor woman trying to do right by her kid gets 12 years!!! I am outraged and I hope in PA people are too and walking the streets for justice for this woman.

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  61. Aside from paying approximately $40,000.00 a year to incarcerate the homeless Mother, the cost of foster care for the child, is probably around $50,000 or more. As a therapeutic foster parent they paid me 24,000.00 a year and once you add in the Social Workers salary, medicaid and the $300.00 a month allowance the child gets, well, hell you do the math! This whole thing is outrageous!!!

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  62. I'm resigning myself to the reality that this is what America is and I can't take it anymore!! I'm just going to go to work. I'll cry alone in the FEMA camp. Gotta love the Elites for their blatant murder of the ones who Jesus died for right?

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  63. It is a sad and unfair story. People should choose where they want to send their children to study. When that happens then schools will clean up their act. As for the article, it is poorly written and misleading. Crucial information about a drug charge (true or not) was left out on purpose. That information could have been presented and explained in the article. It would not have changed one bit the fact that it is unfair. To the contrary, the reader would have understood why the government had so much leverage over Tanya McDowell and why she accepted a 12 year. These are still signs of inequality between social classes.

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  64. This article OUTRAGES me! A homeless mother sentenced to 12 years for using a friend's address to get her son in a decent school. I pay property taxes on homes in 2 states. I do not have children in school. Who is using my money? I think my taxes alone should educate a few kids. Priorities are unbelievable in this country and so sad :( I say use my money for the homeless to get an education as well as others!

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  65. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  66. This is a very sad case!! Where are the ones who have influence? Where is Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Warren Balentine, Derrick Bozeman, NAACP, SCLC, Where are they, and most of all where is President Obama? Surely he could do something.
    Please view the video link below... You will see something else very shocking. A coward police chief afraid to do his job.
    (VIEW THE NEWS VIDEO LINK)
    http://www.cbsatlanta.com/story/15572447/officer-accused-of-terrorizing-citizens-still-on-force

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  67. Thatz why people say "ph@ck the system!" Its obvious whoever called this place "US" was not talkin about "US", they meant them..

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  68. "Only" twelve years? She's lucky she didn't get fifteen!! I guess she won't try to pull that stunt again. No...she probably will if she has any more kids in twelve yers!

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  69. racist bs! we know had she been white she would not been charged. just BS.

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  70. If she was homeless her child can go to any school. What a bunch of racist bullsh**!!!!! death to the person who sentenced her.

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  71. This seems like a clear case of class warfare to me; they set up the system similar to the methods that tehy used to set up company stores. It is designed to benefit those that control the system and ensure that those at the bottom don't have a chance to rise to the top despite the propaganda about how anyone can make it in America.

    If someone like Obama works within the existing system he can and has risen to the top but then he is expected to protect the existing system that enabled him to rise to the top which is presumably why he has remained silent on this issue.

    This is just one of many ways they set up the rules so that essentially the same group of people remain on top. I wrote more on this in a blog about the same topic and thought yours was worth citing in it if anyone is interested it is in the accompanying link in name.

    Good day

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  72. African American femaleMarch 13, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    Thoroughly ashamed to call myself American.. Which, most of the time, I don't. America is a land where the rich get richer and the poor gets nothing. How could they justify sending this homeless MOTHER to jail just for wanting the best education for her child? SO MANY PEOPLE USE DIFFERENT ADDRESSES TO SEND THEIR KIDS TO SCHOOLS IN SEPARATE DISTRICTS!!!!! How did she get singled out? Unless they're going to go individually to every district to assess whether or not schoolkids live in that same district than this case is totally unfair. Also, throwing someone in jail is not cheap. Where is the monetary gain?! All this does is reinforces the idea that America is a corrupt country.

    I don't want to get started on Santorum. -__________________-

    America, how you disappoint me.

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  73. First of all the Norwalk School District is not affluent. She wasn't homeless. She lived in Bridgeport. If she truly cared about her son's education why was she dealing drugs at his birthday party? She is his first teacher. She needs to set example for him.

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  74. Sounds like she needs a top-notch attorney to challenge this. If she was attempting to give her son a better education she should be commended for that, and he should have been given a break, or grace, or something to "enhance" her efforts, since her motivation was for her son's well being. ANY jail time or "slap ion the face" to her regarding this is outrageous. If not already started, an appeal is in order.

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