32-Year-Old Arrested After Posing as Homeless Teen To Enroll in Local High School


A 32-year-old woman was arrested after pretending to be a 15-year-old and attending a high school in New York.

WNYT reports Michaelann Goodrich told school administrators that she was a 15-year-old girl named Riley Madison.

Goodrich enrolled, took the school’s bus to class, and attended one day.  She was absent the next week, and classes let out for winter break the following week.

District Superintendent Anthony Taibi for Cairo-Durham High School said that the situation immediately felt suspicious.

While Taibi doesn’t know Goodrich’s motives, he said she was under adult supervision during her time in the school in accordance with school procedure, according to the New York Post.

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School officials alerted the police, who have since been investigating Goodrich’s behavior.

Joel Rowell, Senior Investigator with the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, told WNYT that officials are still trying to figure out why Goodrich enrolled.

“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,” Rowell said.

“So that just leads to our investigation to try to figure out what exactly her motive was for attending school.”

Does this incident raise school safety concerns?

Taibi said that the district was following protocol by enrolling Goodrich.

He believes that the incident may highlight some issues with federal guidelines.

Under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the school was required to immediately enroll Goodrich because she claimed to be homeless.

The act is designed to protect homeless students from lack of education. However, it also allowed Goodrich to enroll without the usual documentation requirements.

Now parents in the Cairo-Durham school district are raising concerns about school safety.

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“It was kind of unnerving, it could’ve been anybody – you know you hear about school shootings all that – could’ve been anybody coming in here trying to get plans of the school,” parent Joshua Mack told WNYT.

“I don’t know, maybe they need to look into the act a little better maybe find out – not throw her in school right away, find out where she came from, find out what’s going on with the family and everything,” Mack said.

Goodrich was arrested on December 28 and charged with criminal trespassing, falsifying business records, and offering a false instrument for filing.

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Karista Baldwin studied constitutional law, politics and criminal justice.
Karista Baldwin has studied constitutional law, politics and criminal justice. Before college, she was a lifelong homeschooler in the "Catholic eclectic" style.
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