Just saw an article on the web that caught my eye, something about a mother of two girls being sentenced to jail because she lied about where she lived in order to get her children into a better school than the one in her district. Besides serving her jail time, she will be stigmatized as a felon, a label that will severely limit her employment opportunities.She will not be able to be a teacher, as she had planned. My heart goes out to her.
What she did was legally wrong. There is a need to uphold the law, of course. As the article pointed out, the taxpayers in the school district expect that only those living within the district boundaries will be allowed to attend what we can assume is a better school than the one assigned to the children residing in a housing project. The judge in the case says she worries that others will follow this mother's example and threaten the high standards of the school the children were illegally attending. (They have since been removed.)
Yet I wonder if all the important factors have been considered. We have so many mothers struggling to provide their children with a better life than the one they themselves have known. I have, however, lived far too long to believe every mother is a nurturing mother, nor is every father a nurturing father. So many social problems would be non-existent were that the case! In this case, however,I believe we have a sincerely concerned mother, and a jail sentence and a felony conviction are unnecessarily severe. In fact, having their mother thrown in jail because she was looking out for their education could foster anti-social behavior in the girls because of their mother's unjust treatment by the state. If we are going to think of this case in terms of dollars and cents, let's ponder the high cost of incarceration and financial assistance that might be required in the future for this mother and her daughters..
Furthermore, previous infractions of residency reqiurements for this highly ranked school have been not been prosecuted as crimes. It appears that this mother has been singled out to serve as an example to others who might lie about their residency in order to attend.
The mother is reported to have been close to completing her requirements toward an education degree, which would have enabled her to contribute to the state rather than becoming a drain on financial resources.
And in spite of all she's been through, she says she would do it all over again. There's no price tag on this mother's love. She's planning an appeal. Let's hope she wins.