TheRoot.com: Education Should Be A Right, Not a Crime

by Helena Andrews, TheRoot.com

Start typing "mother arrested" into Google, and the Internet wastes no time filling in the rest: "for lying about her address." Not "for selling her daughters on Craigslist," "for feeding her sons drywall" or "for locking her kids in the basement like Boo Radley," but for trying to educate them beyond the borders of their block. In the United States of America, educating your children by any means necessary is a punishable offense.

Henry David Thoreau, the American father of civil disobedience philosophy, said, "Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison." How many of the schools in "low income" (fewer tax dollars) communities look like prisons? So when the government is imprisoning poor children unjustly, it might make sense that mothers seeking justice end up in jail. If you live in crazy town.

Since January, two African-American women have been publicly shamed for sending their children to a school district that was better than the one in which they lived. Both Ohio mom Kelley Williams-Bolar and Connecticut’s Tonya McDowell have been charged with larceny for fudging official school documents. "I did this for them, so there it is," said Williams-Bolar, who used her father’s address to get her two daughters into a better public school. Together, Williams-Bolar and McDowell owe more than $45,000 in back tuition, according to court documents.

 

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