Tanya McDowell, 33, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of larceny and conspiracy to commit larceny for stealing $15,686 – the estimated value of her son’s education.
The 6-year-old boy was enrolled at Norwalk’s Brookside Elementary School between January and McDowell’s April 14 arrest.
McDowell told police that at the time, she was living inside a van and sleeping at either a Norwalk shelter or a friend’s apartment in Bridgeport.
The defendant is due in state Superior Court in Norwalk for her arraignment on Wednesday.
Authorities say McDowell used a friend’s public housing address to get the boy admitted to the Norwalk school system, when he should have attended a school in Bridgeport.
Supporters want the charges against McDowell dropped, saying she was only looking out for the child’s best interest.
“Do we really want to be punitive for this?” said Gwen Samuel, founder of the Connecticut Parents Union, to FoxNews.com “We just cannot be the state that is stooping to this level.”
But Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia – whose office received more than 100 pro-McDowell e-mails from around the country – said the city is getting a bad rap.
“This is not a poor, picked-upon homeless person,” he said. “This is an ex-con, and somehow the city of Norwalk is made into the ogre in this. She has a checkered past at best.”
McDowell was arrested in November for marijuana possession, and served an 18-month prison term for robbery and weapons charges.
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