Homeless Mom Charged With Stealing $16,000 in Education Expenses By Lying About Son’s Address for School

A homeless mother in Connecticut has been charged with theft of “education expenses” totaling nearly $16,000 after it was discovered that she registered her son for school using the babysitter’s address.

The Stanford Advocate reports:

A homeless woman from Bridgeport who enrolled her 6-year-old son at a Norwalk elementary school has become the first in the city to be charged with stealing more than $15,000 for the cost of her child’s education.

Tonya McDowell, 33, whose last known address was 66 Priscilla St., Bridgeport, was charged Thursday with first-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny for allegedly stealing $15,686 from Norwalk schools. She was released after posting a $25,000 bond.

McDowell’s babysitter, Ana Rebecca Marques, was also evicted from her Roodner Court public housing apartment for providing documents to enroll the child at Brookside Elementary School.

According to the story, McDowell was primarily sleeping at a home in a different city, although she could not be there during the days, and also spent time at a local shelter.  The boy went to the sitter’s house daily after school.

An argument could be made that as they had no permanent home, there is no reason why the babysitter’s house isn’t a place of residence, as it was a place he went to daily and had more permanence than their other living situations appeared to.  However, the school disagreed and decided after an investigation to press charges against the mother, claiming theft.

The Chair of the board of education admits the move is unusual — normally a child found attending school out of district is just sent away.  Others are speculating why this case became the case that the district appears to be interested in using to “set an example” in order to discourage other parents from attempting to send their children to school with false addresses, especially since the mother obviously has no ability to pay for the “theft.”   A lawyer involved in a similar case wonders why they wouldn’t choose to go after someone where they may have a chance to get reimbursement back for the educational costs while making their point.

Could it be that the district is less concerned about sending a general example and more concerned about sending one geared to a specific audience?  Like, for example, the low-income and homeless in the area?


Photo by Marlith (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons


John Doe
james rico5 years ago

where she was that was her home. she had no choice in the matter sure she should have asked for permission but we all know it most likely would be rejected so i would not prejudge her. she was only trieing to make the best of a bad sorry siuation as best she could. if it was happening on mass scale it would be different.

Patrick F.
Patrick f5 years ago


Patrick F.
Patrick f5 years ago

I'll shut up when I'm ready to shut up and I NEVER threw pearls at you Angie H.

Angie H.
Angie Hill5 years ago

Oh shut up u pair you've had your say. Don't throw pearls at swine.

If this story is true, it's a damn shameful out come. So now it's a crime to send your child to school when your homeless. Give me a fricken break. A homeless person should be able to go to any school and tell them that they are using a temporary address to send their child to school.
So now it a crime to if u don't force your child to school every day, sick or not your not allowed to many days of school. If that's not bad enough now they punish a homeless women for sending her child to school using the babysitter address. WTF! Now it's a crime to send them! Give me a fricken break! Are u mad people?

Patrick F.
Patrick f5 years ago

0 lines,that is sulking, hahahahahaha!

Patrick F.
Patrick f5 years ago

I don't care if they suspend me, like you said, could be all made up which would mean I am probably wasting my time.

Are you feeling better now that you have unloaded?

See, only four lines,that is communcating,your hundreds of lines is ranting.

Diane L.
Diane L5 years ago

I knew it! Patrick, I have no clue where the "crazy CAT woman" remark comes from, but in case you are so ignorant as to not know the difference, my member profile is of my daughter's wolf-hybrid DOG, who weighed 138 lbs., HARDLY a cat.

The two "spaces" are called COMMENTS, which are limited to characters. I chose to cut mine off after about 800 characters, just to make sure everything I was replying was shown without being cut off.

I'm sure even those who were agreeing with your opinions are now very obviously staying out of this discussion after reading your latest rantings. Wow, talk about a hypocritical moron who has to resort to such tactics when he can't think of actual statements of fact that are relevant to the discussion. Keep it up, Patrick, so Customer Service has an even BETTER reason to suspend you. I won't further "feed" your ego and it's need to spew B.S. Far more relevant discussions to comment about on Care.2, since I've said what I wanted to say, pointed out the "why's" and you only want to resort to insults and personal attacks that are meaningless to me. If you think I am nothing more than amused by you, you're sadly mistaken.

Julie C.
Julie Cottucci5 years ago

The child will definitely be the loser here, I think his mum has shown incredible resource and has done this for her child. The authorities are bullies even if she has lied what were her main outcomes here? To benefit her child to give him some stabilty, to make him feel normal, Where's the father is he paying anything? It is a very sad system that punishes struggling single parent families when all they are trying to do is give some stability in the best way they know how. If a person is homeless they should be able to enrol their child in any school their choice. If the system has failed them them the system should pay.

Patrick F.
Patrick f5 years ago

You're right about not being able to resist coming back, but you offer too much material to NOT make fun of you.

Patrick F.
Patrick f5 years ago

LMAO!!! You're rantings actually took up 2 spaces, I can't believe the doctors let you out of your padded cell long enough to type all that in.

I should get a green star just for putting up with you and your serious personality disorder. Hey, there's a cause you can start, "Help save crazy cat woman from her paranoid alter ego".