Recently, Felicity Huffman, an American actress, was sentenced to 14 days in prison after paying someone to cheat on her daughter’s university entrance exam. Earlier this year, she admitted that she had paid $15,000 to have an invigilator correct her daughter Sophia’s answers on the exam. According to authorities, the result was 400 points higher than an earlier practice test. Huffman’s light sentencing has brought back into the spotlight a case where a Connecticut mom received a five-year sentence for falsifying her son’s residence.
|Photo Credit via People|
In 2011, Tanya McDowell, who was 34 at the time of her sentencing, enrolled her son in a school district where he did not live. McDowell and Andrew, her son, was living out of their van and a range of different homeless shelters. She used her babysitter’s address to enroll for then 5-year-old Andrew because she wanted a better education for him. In the courtroom, she said, “Who would have thought that wanting a good education for my son would put me in this predicament? I have no regrets of seeking a better education for him.”
|Photo Credit via Wikimedia Commons|
According to Unilad, a British Internet media company and website owned by LADbible Group, McDowell pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree larceny (a theft involving property or services valued at more than $20,000). She pleaded guilty to the first-degree larceny for illegally enrolling her son in Norwalk public school although they don’t live there. However, the mother was also charged with selling drugs to an undercover police officer on two separate occasions.
In an article by People, an American weekly magazine of celebrity and human-interest stories, McDowell’s lawyer, Darnell Crossland, said that the police “set up an elaborate scheme where they had some undercover cops … come up to the shelter and start targeting her because would not plead guilty to the school case.”
Many people have compared the two cases, arguing that this proves that the criminal justice system is ruled by white privilege.