This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Every year, hundreds of students are kicked out of suburban Philadelphia school districts for residency fraud. Maybe even thousands. This little-discussed corner of the K-12 landscape contains so many of the issues that shape education in Pennsylvania today.
WHYY explored the topic of disenrollment in our series “Kicked Out.” This is Part Two. You can read Part One here, about how some school districts in the Philadelphia suburbs are disproportionately removing students of color.
On a recent weekday afternoon, Tina Blanchette is doing what a lot of moms do on weekday afternoons: waiting in a suburban parking lot for a kid to arrive.
While idling in her inconspicuous white SUV, we chat about her interests (Game of Thrones, audiobooks) and her three children (precocious, perpetually overscheduled). Midway through a sighing soliloquy about travel soccer, Blanchette spots a Lexus as it scoots past us.
Her voice drops to a whisper.
“That’s our boy …”
Here is where Blanchette’s parking-lot loitering takes a turn from the ordinary. She whips out a small camcorder and films a teenage boy as he steps out of the Lexus and into a two-story townhome.