Please disable your Ad Blocker to better interact with this website.

Homeless Mom Sent to Jail for Sending Her Kid to a Good School

As a parent of three wonderful children, one of my greatest concerns is making sure that they are educated well. I want my children to enjoy the best education that I can afford to give them, and the most opportunities that might come along with that education. It’s not just me, either. Every parent I know and have had this discussion with says the same thing – they want to make sure their children get the best education they can possibly get.

Many of us take that idea for granted.

Many of us live in suburban areas where good schools (or at least acceptable schools) are the norm. Many of us have the means to ensure that our children can attend a school that is doing its job to educate, while also keeping our children as safe as possible. Many of us have the ability to find an alternate solution to our kid’s school if we have to.

Some parents do not have these blessings.

Some parents are forced to send their children to failing schools with dangerous problems.

Parents like Tonya McDowell. The 34-year-old, who was homeless when she was charged with felony larceny last year, said she wanted the best education possible for the boy.

Ms. McDowell is no saint. She was also convicted of selling drugs and has had other run-ins with the law, but that’s not really the point, is it?

momschoolMs. McDowell will now spend the next five years in prison for “stealing” about $15K in “free” services from the city of Norwalk, CT. How one steals “free” services is still up for debate. What is not up for debate is the ridiculous punishment for attempting to get her child the best education she could. All over the United States millions of children of illegal aliens are provided with a free education every day, and none of their parents face prison.

Ms. McDowell and her son were homeless at the time of her arrest, but her last address had been in Bridgeport, CT. Authorities say she fraudulently listed the home of her child’s sitter as her own to enroll her son in the Norwalk, CT elementary school that he attended. Ms. McDowell says that she was living in Norwalk on a part-time basis because they were using the town’s homeless shelter as a residence.

Stories like this one are where the liberal’s cries of “fighting poverty” fall short. As conservatives we advocate for school choice, which would allow poor families like Ms. McDowell’s to enroll in the best schools they can find access to. Liberals fight to keep these families in failing schools, which simply perpetuates the cycle of poverty. Why are liberals so against giving the poor a way out of poverty? It’s simply disgusting.

No matter the reason, the prosecution of Ms. McDowell for trying to give her son a better education is a complete miscarriage of justice and a waste of taxpayer dollars. The good people of Connecticut likely spent more prosecuting her for her “crime” than they did in educating her son. Now her son will be without his mom for at least the next five years, all because she wanted him to have a chance to get out of poverty.

Give the poor hope – give them school choice!


The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

About the author

Onan Coca

Onan is the Editor-in-Chief at Romulus Marketing. He's also the managing editor at, and the managing partner at You can read more of his writing at Eagle Rising.
Onan is a graduate of Liberty University (2003) and earned his M.Ed. at Western Governors University in 2012. Onan lives in Atlanta with his wife and their three wonderful children.

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.

Don't Miss Out!!

Get your daily dose of Eagle Rising by entering your email address below.

Don't miss a thing. Sign up for our email newsletter to become an insider.

Send this to a friend