Target: Dannel Mallow, governor of Connecticut
Goal: Pardon woman sentenced to 5 years in prison for enrolling her son in a public school outside her former district
Every American child has the right to a quality public education and the potential for a bright future. Unfortunately, too many families face unthinkable odds in the simple struggle to allow their children to learn and grow. A mother in Connecticut was recently sentenced to 5 years in prison for the crime of enrolling her 6-year-old son in a school outside her district. Tonya McDowell, who was homeless at the time, used a babysitter’s address to enroll her child in a Norwalk kindergarten. Even though she had no permanent address at the time, authorities claim she should have enrolled the boy in Bridgeport, where she last lived. Urge the governor of Connecticut to overturn McDowell’s sentencing and forgive her for the “crime” of sending her son to school.
Educational inequality between districts is pronounced in states like Connecticut, where many children are forced due to their location to attend underfunded schools. Police claim that McDowell “stole” a total of $15,686 of educational services, even though a free public education is a right guaranteed to every American child. She was also convicted of selling narcotics.
The charges against Tonya McDowell are ridiculous. No mother should be separated from her child simply for attempting to secure him a brighter future. Call for McDowell to be released and reunited with her son immediately.
Dear Governor Mallow,
A mother in Connecticut was recently sentenced to 5 years in prison for the crime of “stealing” free education. Tonya McDowell was living in a van and with friends when she enrolled her son in a Norwalk kindergarten, hoping to ensure for him a better life than the one she currently faced. But because McDowell’s last permanent address was in Bridgeport, authorities attested that her son’s enrollment was a crime.
Like any mother, McDowell just wanted the best education possible for her young son. She wanted to guarantee him a future off the streets and away from the hardships that she herself faced growing up. But Connecticut’s judicial system responded by separating the boy from his mother and denying him the right to attend school in a properly funded district.
McDowell’s prison sentence is simply unjust. I urge you to overturn her sentencing and reunite her with her son.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Matthew Paulson via Flickr