After the publication of a story last week about the worrisome increase in the number of homeless students now struggling to get an education in Monterey County, we learned that the woman featured in the account has had several encounters with law enforcement. The homeless woman has three children. They were living in a hotel room until recently while the kids were trying to stay in school with the help of a program designed specifically for homeless children.
According to court records, the mother has been convicted (twice) of domestic violence and for several other misdemeanor charges. This came to our attention after an attorney for her former landlord called to say the mother's account of why she is now homeless is in dispute.
Had we known now what we did then, we might have approached the story differently. On the other hand, the story was about homeless students — and representatives from the school district referred us to the woman when we asked for a good example of families who are trying to make do in these tough times. The fact that the woman has a police record does not diminish the fact that her children are homeless.
Some people are homeless because of the circumstances they confront; others are homeless because of the unfortunate choices they've made. When children are involved, it shouldn't really matter how it happened.
"The main point is that kids who are . . . living in the streets, we need to put them in schools," said Carlos Diaz, the homeless liaison for the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District.