Michaelann Goodrich was arrested on December 28 in Cairo, New York. She stands accused of posing as a homeless teenager to enroll in high school classes.
- Police said Goodrich, who already has a high school diploma, told Cairo-Durham School District administrators that she was a homeless teen named Rowley Madison and enrolled in classes on December 20.
- Officials said they were suspicious of Goodrich, but enrolled her immediately because of a law that ensures that homeless students have access to education, despite documentation of age.
- Goodrich is facing charges of offering a false instrument for filing, falsifying business records and criminal trespassing.
A 32-year-old woman in upstate New York is accused of posing as a homeless 15-year-old to enroll in classes at a high school.
Michaelann Goodrich was arrested on December 28 in Cairo, New York, and is facing charges of offering a false instrument for filing, falsifying business records and criminal trespassing in the incident, the Green County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Thursday.
Last month, Goodrich told Cairo-Durham School District administrators that she was a homeless teen named Rowley Madison and enrolled in classes on December 20, sheriff’s department officials said.
Goodrich, who already has a high school diploma, rode the bus to and from Cairo-Durham High School that day, but was absent the following day, police said.
The district’s winter break then started, and District Superintendent Anthony Taibi said administrators alerted police that something seemed suspicious.
“We notified law enforcement immediately,” Taibi told HudsonValley360.
School officials alerted the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, which still doesn’t know why Goodrich appears to have lied about her age.
“She could’ve gone in numerous different ways to obtain a degree and we actually found out through the investigation and that she has a high school diploma,” Joel Rowell, senior investigator with the department, told WNYT. “So that just leads to our investigation to try to figure out what exactly her motive was for attending school.”
Under a 1987 law called the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the Cairo-Durham School District was required to enroll Goodrich as a student after she claimed to be homeless, even if she didn’t have proper documentation showing her age.
The law ensures that homeless students have the same access to education as other students and grants federal funds to local districts.
Officials are now investigating whether Goodrich attempted to falsify reports, enroll at other schools, or access children.
She is being held in jail on a $US5,000 bail.
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