Tanya McDowell's case sheds light upon the prevalent disparity towards underprivileged communities, just take Felicity Huffman's conviction of 14-days in jail for the college admission scandal for example.
A homeless mother from Bridgeport, Connecticut, was sentenced to five years behind bars for using someone else's address to enroll her son in a school district where they did not live. Back in 2011, all Tanya McDowell wanted for her then 5-year-old son, Andrew, was better education. Therefore keeping his welfare in mind, the mom did what she had to by enrolling him in an elementary school situated in the nearby town of Norwalk. "Who would have thought that wanting a good education for my son would put me in this predicament?" asked McDowell as she stood handcuffed in front of the Superior Court Judge, Frank Iannotti.
There are two America's - and racism is sadly alive and well in the USA. This is horribly tragic.— Don Winslow (@donwinslow) 15 September 2019
Homeless Mom Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Using Friend's Address to Enroll Son in School https://t.co/kBKGnnSiEb
According to a report by Connecticut Post, the then 34-year-old was charged with first-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny for enrolling her son in Norwalk public school illegally. The mother and son duo used to live in her van and sometimes at homeless shelters, reports PEOPLE. They would often spend the nights at an apartment situated in Bridgeport. Due to the unstable nature of her residence, she used her son's babysitter’s address while registering for Andrew's schooling. Therefore, she was charged with first-degree larceny according to the Newark Courthouse Chief Clerk’s Office as she had "stolen" education.
"Desperate Housewives" star Felicity Huffman was sentenced Friday to 14 days in prison for paying $15,000 to rig her daughter's SAT scores in the college admissions scandal that ensnared dozens of wealthy and well-connected parents. https://t.co/84KWDN25A5— Eyewitness News (@WEHTWTVWlocal) 13 September 2019
However, at the time, she was also facing drug charges for the sale of narcotics for which she had already served her time. "I have no regrets seeking a better education for him, I do regret my participation in this drug case," said McDowell. But the reason behind bringing up such old cases is simply to shed the light of contrast between them and actress Felicity Huffman's recent college admissions scandal. The Desperate Housewives star was found guilty of paying William “Rick” Singer, an admissions consultant, and his nonprofit organization, Key Worldwide Foundation (“KWF”) with a sum of $15,000 to increase her daughter's SAT test with the help of a proctor to correct Huffman's daughter's answer sheet reports, PEOPLE.
It's insane we locked a woman up for 5 years for sending her kid to the wrong school district. Literally everyone involved in that decision should be ashamed of themselves— John Legend (@johnlegend) 14 September 2019
Now, critics could help but point out the distinct contrast between the two above mentioned cases. While the former has to serve five years in prison for lying about their residence, the Oscar nominee got out this case with a 14-days jail sentence, $30,000 in fine, and 250 hours of community service says reports. No can overlook the prevalent disparity displayed towards underprivileged communities and thus people are using this as an example to show just how unfair everyone is towards the underprivileged.
Felicity Huffman got 14 DAYS in prison for helping her kids get into school. This homeless woman got 5 YEARS for using a friends addy to enroll her kid in school. The system is BROKEN for POC who can not afford to defend themselves with top lawyers. SMH https://t.co/2mb1dORFsl— Pablo Hernandez (@pablohernandez7) 16 September 2019
Here's another example of this contract. Back in 2011, Kelley Williams-Bolar, a mother from Ohio was sentenced to 10 days in county jail because she lied about her home address, in order to, get her daughter admitted into a different school district. When Williams-Bolar was asked to pay the pending amount of tuition, $30,000, she refused which lead to her conviction of falsifying residency records. And a recent study by The Washington Post this year revealed how white school districts received a hefty amount of $23 billion more in government funding as compared to nonwhite school districts in 2016, despite the fact that both accounted for the same number of students.
Speaking to Refinery29 about the verdict of the college admissions scandal, New York City public defender, Rebecca J. Kavanagh said, "While there is a part of us that may feel some sense of vindication at the idea of these parents serving five years in prison because Tanya McDowell served five years in prison when she was so much more deserving, that’s not justice." She further added, "Justice is for Tanya McDowell to have never been charged, convicted or sentenced to prison and to have the same educational opportunity for her son as these parents have for their children."
Felicity Huffman Sentenced to 14 Days in Prison in SAT Cheating Case pic.twitter.com/HAhsb1uVZ9— Pbrowning02 🇺🇸 (@pbrowning02) 16 September 2019
Update: An earlier version of this article carried the headline 'Homeless Mom Gets 5 Years In Prison For Using Friend's Address To Enroll Son'. It has now been updated.