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No parent or guardian should be arrested and convicted for putting their child in a good school, in district or out of district.

Over 27, 251 signatures were gathered  for Tonya McDowell by in 2011 attesting to this fact!

Letter to
CT Governor Dannel P. Malloy CT Governor Dannel P. Malloy
I just signed the following petition addressed to: CT Governor Dannel P. Malloy and called his office at (800) 406-1527 and asked him to pardon Tonya McDowell for educational theft.

As governor, you have shown that you will stop at nothing to ensure that all Connecticut children have access to high quality schools. And now, you have a new opportunity to show that commitment by pardoning Tonya McDowell, a mother who nothing more than gave her five year old child a school that could meet his Kindergarten needs.

Last year, Tonya, a single mother from Bridgeport who was struggling to give five-year-old son a great school was charged by the Norwalk school district for sending her child to one of its schools. Tonya was trying to provide her child with the kind of opportunities you have supported this year through the proposed expansion of high-quality schools. But because of residency laws that restrict those choices, Tonya found herself faced with a choice: Send her child to a failing school that wouldn’t meet his needs – and make her child one of many kids damaged by the state's worst achievement gap – or do what she can to help her child get into a school that would.

As a result of fighting fiercely for the future of her son, as any mother should do, she faced criminal charges– and now she faces an unfair sentence.

Tonya does not deserve this unfair sentence for education theft. So on her behalf, and on behalf of every parent, mother, father, and grandparent faced with a lack of quality opportunities to learn, I ask you to support Tonya’s full pardon for educational theft. With this pardon, you are once again sending the message that Connecticut will put the educational and life needs of children first!

While some may not agree with some of Tonya’s alleged choices, arresting and convicting her for educational theft, in a state with the, worst in country achievement gap, in which far too many parents are left with no good opportunities at all, will not improve our economic and educational crisis. Shared accountability through best practice educational reform efforts will.

We believe the sentence handed down by the judge is overwhelmingly inappropriate considering the fact that this type of educational fraud is committed by hundreds of families throughout the state and in those districts, those disputes are resolved without filing appalling criminal lawsuits like this one. Tonya should not be punished for wanting to ensure her five year old son had access to a great education and I urge you to issue her a full pardon.


gwen samuel started this petition with a single signature, and now has 428 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.