Arresting parents for 'education theft'

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- All parents want the best for their children when it comes to giving them a quality education. To that end, we have seen cases of parents being charged with felonies for what's known as 'education theft'.

The issue has now grabbed the attention of state lawmakers.

"I have a seven-year-old crying, because she thinks that we're going to go to jail," said Hamlet Garcia, parent arrested in PA.

As the federal court in Hartford considers the constitutionality of arresting parents who sent their kids to schools outside their geographic districts, Garcia, the subject of such an arrest in Pennsylvania, is unequivocal about his feelings.

"When our government allows the state and local authorities to arrest parents over education, I think they're breaking international law, too," said Garcia.

Just last month, Governor Dannel Malloy signed a law prohibiting such prosecutions in Connecticut.

Norwalk State Rep. Bruce Morris says even if arresting offending parents were constitutional nationwide, the historic application of the law has been curiously spotty.

"We are going to ignore the Constitution and ignore the equal protection act under the Constitution because we selectively want to pick black and Hispanic families and under-educate them when our nation is failing among all the industrialized nations as it relates to education," said Morris.

One key opposing argument is that sending kids across district boundaries sends logistical and financial planning for those boundaries in to a crap shoot. However, some folks say they have the right argument.

"I heard there was a system called Money Follows the Child, where they attach the per-pupil expense to the child," said Gwen Samuel, CT Parents Union President. "That should be the logical way to go anyway, because that way the per-pupil amount that's allocated to the child can just follow the child from district to district."

And, the integrity of America in and out of the classroom, Morris says, will be affected by today's happenings in the courtroom.

"This is a national security issue," Morris said. "It is one that, if anything, should spur the conversation about what do we need to do to provide quality education in all schools, rather than criminalizing."

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Connecticut (change)

Connecticut has 169 cities and towns, which serve as the fundamental local political subdivision of the state. Connecticut is the 5th of the original thirteen United States.
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Governor: Dan Malloy
Lieutenant Governor: Nancy Wyman
Attorney General: George Jepsen
State Treasurer: Denise L. Nappier

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