In this undated photo provided by the Greene County Sheriff’s Office in Catskill, N.Y., Michaelann Goodrich is shown. Goodrich, 32, of Cairo, NY, is facing charges of offering a false instrument for filing, falsifying business records and criminal trespassing after police said she posed as a homeless teen and tried to enroll in high school classes. (Greene County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

32-year-old enrolls in U.S. high school as teen

School officials were required by federal law to accept her because she claimed she was homeless

A 32-year-old woman faces felony charges for posing as a homeless teenager to enrol and attend classes at a high school in the Catskill Mountains, authorities said Friday as they tried to determine her motive.

Michaelann Goodrich presented herself as a 15-year-old to enrol in the Cairo-Durham school district 40 miles (64 kilometres) southwest of Albany last month, School Superintendent Anthony Taibi said Friday. Officials were skeptical of her story when Goodrich enrolled on Dec. 19 under the name “Riley Madison,” but they were required by federal law to accept her because she claimed she was homeless, Taibi said.

“The regulation exists to ensure that students who are runaway or abducted youth get into an accountable, safe environment as quickly as possible,” Taibi said. “It has worked well, but this situation highlights a vulnerability that exists.”

READ MORE: Homeowner surprised when renter invites homeless camp to B.C. backyard

School officials contacted the sheriff’s office to launch an investigation, but in the meantime, Goodrich rode on a school bus, attended classes and had lunch at school on Dec. 21, before the holiday break, Taibi said.

“We made sure that under no circumstances was she not under the supervision of a staff member,” Taibi said.

Greene County Sheriff’s Investigator Joel Rowell said Goodrich, who lives in Cairo with her husband, was charged Dec. 28 with offering a false instrument for filing, falsifying business records and criminal trespassing. She was released from jail after a court appearance Thursday evening, to await further court action.

The public defender assigned to Goodrich didn’t return a phone call seeking comment Friday afternoon.

READ MORE: Okanagan teens get eviction notice in forest fort

Rowell said Goodrich and her husband previously lived in California and Washington state and it’s unclear how long they’ve been in Cairo. He said Goodrich has no job or children, but does have a diploma from a high school in California.

In the 1999 movie “Never Been Kissed,” Drew Barrymore plays a journalist who poses as a high school student to gather details for a story. But officials have no idea what Goodrich’s motivation was.

“She didn’t have an explanation,” Rowell said. “That’s why we’re reaching out to parents of kids who were with her in school or on the bus to find out what their interactions were, so we can try to determine her motive.”

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sooke fitness facilities reopen to the public

Extra measures set in place to ensure user safety

Pandemic spurs egg-citement for backyard chickens in Greater Victoria

Fowl surge in popularity during COVID-19 pandemic

Pandemic profiles: Passion at the heart of community businesses

Businesses rely on community support to stay open

Saanich looks at allowing alcohol in parks after North Vancouver gives the green light

Bylaw allowing liquor in parks ‘a very positive idea,’ mayor says

Organizer, Victoria councillor, VicPD talk about upcoming rally for Black lives

‘It’s a simple ask’: Peace rally for Black lives organizer asks people to listen

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

‘Alarmed’: Health critic calls for more data on COVID-19 in trucking industry

Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec said that level of detail is not being collected

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Most Read