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Schools Dispute McDowell Attorney's Claim

Attorney Darnell Crosland continues to maintain that his client, Tanya McDowell, was asked to remove her 5-year-old son from Brookside Elementary School in January. School officials continue to say otherwise.

McDowell, a single mother who says she has no fixed address and sleeps in a friend's Bridgeport apartment, is being prosecuted for first-degree larceny for stealing a education. The Norwalk Board of Education issued a statement in April saying that Norwalk Public Schools did not initiate a residency proceeding to remove McDowell's son from Brookside and did not initiate criminal proceedings against McDowell.

After McDowell's court appearance Tuesday, Crosland said he had confirmed that McDowell had gotten a phone call asking her to remove her son.

"We found out that it was a social worker, I believe it might have been Rockafellow was the name," he said. "Not even the principal, a social worker. My understanding is that the principal did not know this was taking place. That's an issue as well. A principal should be well aware when any child is being requested to leave school."

Robin Rockafellow, social worker at Brookside, denied that. "I don't remember making any such phone call," she said.

David Hay, principal of Brookside, said that as far as he knew, no one on his staff was responsible. "The only thing I know about it is that I asked that question a couple of months ago, if anybody had called," he said. "And everybody said, 'No, they didn't.' That's the only thing I know about it."

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