Sharpton holds equal education rally

June 8, 2011 at 7:54 PM

NORWALK, Conn., June 8 (UPI) -- The Rev. Al Sharpton held a rally on behalf of a homeless Connecticut woman charged with larceny for enrolling her son in the wrong school district.

Tanya McDowell, 33, the homeless mother accused of stealing her son's education by sending her son to a Norwalk, Conn., kindergarten while not living in the district, has become a cause celebre and a possible national test case for the concept of free education, the Huffington Post reported.

"I know people are talking about it," the Connecticut Post reported Connecticut House Speaker Christopher Donovan said Tuesday. "I think it was too harsh. Everybody believes it was too harsh."

Sharpton's "Equal Education For All" rally massed more than 100 people in support of McDowell.

"I am going to review this case with the NAACP," Sharpton said. "A child should not be a pawn to politics. If we cannot have equal opportunity at the beginning of life, we will never have equality in life."

"Whatever went right or wrong, that little boy didn't do nothing to nobody," Sharpton said.

McDowell was homeless, either illegally bedding down in a Bridgeport apartment, the Norwalk Emergency Shelter or her minivan when she was arrested by Norwalk police April 14.

"I didn't know that seeking the best education for your child could get you arrested," Tanya McDowell, 33, said following her appearance at Superior Court in Norwalk to answer a charge of first-degree larceny for the alleged theft of services from a municipality. "It was a total shock to me."

Judge Bruce P. Hudock continued the case to July 12 at which time McDowell's attorney is expected to ask the charges against her be dropped, the Hartford (Conn.) Courant reported.

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