In a tragic turn of events, Tanya McDowell, a mother, who was reportedly homeless, was sent to prison because she had tried to use the address of one of her friends to be able to enroll her son, Andrew, in school.
Also, note that McDowell was apprehended for selling drugs on two occasions. McDowell was given a five-year sentence for the crime of enrolling her son in a school in a different district from the one she resided in.
The story McDowell returned to the spotlight because of the Felicity Huffman scandal. After the Desperate Housewives actress was caught buying her daughters’ way into prestigious universities, she received a light slap on the wrist in the shape of a 14-day prison sentence.
Many took to social media to defend McDowell and to cry out “white privilege” and to say the American justice system works only for the wealthy. McDowell is African-American and her case ended in Connecticut in 2012.
Those backers of the Bridgeport, Connecticut woman said it does not look like she was trying to cause any trouble with the way she broke the law.
McDowell claimed at the time that she had been merely trying to give her son a better education. Some have pointed out that things can be quite tough for someone in her position, and that it does not make sense for the courts to treat her any more harshly because of her attempts at doing something good for her child.
Still, not all comments about the situation have been positive, with some being more critical of what the woman had done, and pointing out that she might have deprived someone else of their chance to enroll their child at the same school, due to the way some limited-place institutions tend to work.
Others point to the fact that McDowell was given the harsh sentence after a plea agreement. McDowell pleaded guilty to larceny and two counts of sale of narcotics.
In any case, it does not look like the court has been sympathetic to the woman’s situation — nor the outcry from the public after the incident — and there has been a lot of criticism over the case and the way the legal system handled it.
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A critic said this about the two cases: “Brock Turner, that’s the two-tiered justice system on display. Who cares if one is a good athlete if he’s committing rapes. In this country, it’s all about money. The rich get away with murder, dam shame.”
Another social media user explained: “Oh, that’s upsetting that this is even a crime to want better for your child. Taking a parent away from their child is the real crime!!”
A third comment read: “Wealthy, that’s it. That’s what it all comes down to. Felicity Huffman is wealthy. Now yes, the system is f*cked up and is it going to change hell no, it’s not. Just do what I do and stay out of trouble. We all grown and know right from wrong, and if you don’t know, you look it up. All three of these females knew they were breaking the law, and they didn’t care until after they got caught. So while all of you all made crying white privilege, white people get fucked over just as much black people do in the system. It’s about money, the more you got, the better your outcome.”
This observer decided to point to the facts about the case: “Not one single commenter here took the time to look up the facts. Tonya was charged for selling crack to an undercover twice. She’s going to prison for the drug case, and the school case was another charge on top of it. She got probation for the school case.”
While the two cases involve schools, McDowell, who was released in 2017, was accused of other things that complicated her situation. The comparison with Huffman is tenuous at best.