Mr. and Mrs. Garcia have been criminally prosecuted for sending their Kindergarten child to a school district outside of their neighborhood even though the child lived in Pennsylvania Montgomery County at the time of school enrollment.
Please contact Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman at 610-278-3090 or on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Montgomery-County-District-Attorney/96910904678 and ask her to do what is just and drop the criminal charges against Mr. and Mrs. Garcia and allow the Garcias to pay the school district the cost of educating their Kindergarten child.
1. The Garcia’s state “me and my wife know that our daughter was legally eligible to attend Pine elementary school in Montgomery County due to the fact my child and wife lived in Montgomery County school district at the time of enrollment.”
2. The Garcia’s child and her mother moved out of Montgomery County school district to the Philadelphia school district two months before the school year ended. It is at this time when the question of the Garcia’s school residency became an issue which led to the parents being arrested.
3. The Garcia’s requested a hearing with the Superintendent before the School board and were denied that hearing. Furthermore the Garcia’s never received anything in writing regarding this school residency issue or any bill stating they owed any education cost for their child.
4. The Garcia’s agreed to pay the education cost for their child to continue at Pine Elementary school to ensure education stability for their child but the school district refused to accept school tuition and pursued heavy handed criminal charges instead to make the Garcia’s an example and send a message [parents should not put their children in schools where they don’t belong].
5. Mr. Garcia states “these charges are based on a misunderstanding by authorities” [because this is an interpretation issue of education school residency laws versus a criminal matter]
In closing, Pre-k through 12th grade School Residency issues are an education and a civil challenge not criminal matter and parents should not be made “criminals” when issues of school residency arises! This is a heavy handed form of "justice" that does not take into account the educational needs of children.
Parents should be afforded due process in all school residency issues to further ensure school districts are not arresting a homeless family protected by the McKinney Vento Act - an act that protects the educational rights of homeless children or a parent that has relocated due to domestic violence issues...
The bottom line is all parents must make the best decisions to protect the educational and overall well being of their children.
School residency arrest "target" low-income familes, Blacks and Hispanics more than any other ethnicity or class of people.
Arresting parents for school residency/zip code education violations is a heavy handed prosecution that promote segregation and discrimination practices based on where a child lives. School residency laws directly violate the civil right law of Brown v. Board of Education and violates federal equal protection laws.
Therefore, we must END separate and unequal school systems.
"Brown v Board of Education is one of the most historical court cases especially in terms of education. This case took on segregation within school systems, or the separation of white and black students within public schools. Up until this case, many states had laws establishing separate schools for white students and another for black students. This landmark case makes separate and unequal school systems unconstitutional.
* Note: Petition picture by MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTOS
** If you would like to support the Garcia's legal defense efforts and fight for all parents facing these unjust School Residency laws please visit the Garcia's Family Legal Defense Fund website http://www.garciafamilyldf.com
The Garcia Legal Defense Fund is established for the Garcia family to cover any ongoing legal and education advocacy cost associated with reforming Pre-K through 12th Grade school residency laws because a parent should never be made a criminal for ensuring their child gets a good education!
***Gwen Samuel, President and Founder of the Connecticut Parents Union started this petition because she firmly believes that the time is NOW to ensure all children have equal access to safe and high performing schools, regardless of race or economic status, therefore we must END separate and unequal school systems by reforming school residency laws also known as zip Code education laws.
"It is clear that all parents want is for their kids to get the best education. We all want to live in safe neighborhoods and we all want the same opportunities to succeed in school and in our careers. Those things transcend politics, race and religion." (James E. Causey )
Question? If parents don't protect their children, who will?
Need more information about CT Parents Union visit www.ctparentsunion.org