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calendar   Saturday - January 29, 2011

Mom Got Schooled

Fake Your Address

Send Your Kids To A Better School

Go To Jail



Ohio mother convicted of felony because she said her kids lived with their father so that they could attend a better, safer public school. Now she’s a felon, and her career as an aspiring teacher is over.


Kelley Williams-Bolar, a 40-year-old mother of two, was convicted of a felony last week and sent to jail for 10 days. Her crime? Falsifying records so her kids could attend a safer school in the district where her father lives.

Uh-oh! Sounds like two little girls were trying to get a free education off the back of hard-working tax payers, and if that’s not worth a felony charge, I don’t know what is. Williams-Bolar, according to the prosecution, lives in subsidized housing in Akron, Ohio, and not with her father in Copley Township—as she claimed on several official school forms when she enrolled her two daughters. The Copley schools are, it seems, better and safer than the schools in Akron. (They are also whiter. Williams-Bolar is black. But obviously race has nothing to do with this case!)

The school district grew suspicious enough about the Williams-Bolar kids to, apparently, hire a private detective, who filmed Williams-Bolar dropping her children off at a bus stop near her parents’ house.

According to the presiding judge, Patricia Cosgrove, who spoke with The Akron Beacon-Journal, “the state would not move, would not budge, and offer Ms. Williams-Bolar to plead to a misdemeanor,” despite several pretrial hearings.

Williams-Bolar, a teaching assistant, is working towards a teaching degree, but her felony conviction will likely derail that.

Looks like the father and grandfather are also in a bit of trouble over this. Williams-Bolar was released early from jail and is now making a big fuss and demanding complete exoneration.

A whole bushel of links on the story can be found here.

Interesting situation. A black woman wants her kids out of the lousy and dangerous local black school, so she says they live with the other parent, who has an address in the better, whiter school district. Both districts are within the city of Akron, so it isn’t like neither parent was paying school taxes into the city system. Or were they? I would assume Mom is on some level of public assistance, since she lives in subsidized housing, but she works at least part-time. Does the father work? He lives elsewhere, with his father, but everyone still seems to be on speaking terms. Are they married? Were they ever married? Is he working but living with his father only so that she and the girls can get rent free housing? Did the Copley Township schools only push this case to court because she’s black? (a dozen cases a year like this come up, but none ever go to trial, much less conviction). Had Williams-Bolar tried for a waiver before this, or did she just decide to falsify things from the get-go?

If you try to make things better for your children by following the rules and get nowhere, is it Ok to bend or break the rules to get what you want? This case is a victimless crime, isn’t it?

Or perhaps the whole thing is a big miscarriage of justice. According to one article I read,

The effect of divorce on a student’s residence also is a factor for districts. A child in joint custody with parents in different districts has a right to go to either, said Russell Chaboudy, superintendent of Coventry school.

Any $2 lawyer could get “divorce” interpreted as “living separately” considering how rare actual marriage is these days. If Chaboudy is paraphrasing actual law, then this case may have been really poorly handled if certain legal priorities exist. By which I mean the “divorce” rule overrides the “actual residency of the child” rule, which it certainly could if parental custody was exactly 50-50.

I read several articles about the case, but not all of them, and it does not look like she is overtly playing the race card. That in itself is interesting, because a quick look at the other dozen cases per year that come up would point out any racial bias, and you’ve got to wonder about it, since the Copley school board hired a private detective to make their case, which is something they’ve never done before. And with all the other cases clogging up the court system, and plea bargains buzzing around like mayflies, the prosecutors were 100% unwilling to make any kind of deal on this case? So maybe she ought to be playing it for all it’s worth. Or maybe it’s in play just by having her picture in the paper. Or maybe, just for once, race is merely coincidental to the case.

h/t to careyb


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 01/29/2011 at 09:02 AM   
Filed Under: • CrimeEducationRacism and race relations •  
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