Ohio Mom Kelley Williams-Bolar Jailed for Sending Kids to Better School District

The intern blog below is a commentary on a mother being punished for sending her children to a better school in Ohio based on the article that can be found below the commentary.

Is it wrong to lie about where you live in order to get your children into a better school? Judge Patricia Cosgrove in Ohio thought so. She used Kelley Williams-Bolar as an example, charging her for providing a false address to get her daughters access to a better middle school. The reasoning for her charge was that they did not pay taxes in that district, so it was unfair for her children to reap the benefits of a school that was supported by higher taxes. This is completely ridiculous to me. What she was “stealing” was an education for her daughters that they were denied access to due to where they lived. In my opinion, this story should be a wake up call for education reform. If Williams-Bolar was willing to go through the trouble of lying about her address and driving her daughters further each morning, something must have been lacking at the local middle school. This deficiency should be addressed instead of sentencing a mother to 10 days in jail, three years of probation, and community service. She is paying for stratified educational system that values the education of wealthier students. I personally know students in the Bay Area who did this and I have never heard of anyone’s parents being jailed for seeking a better school for their children. What made this case so different? Did the fact that the mother and children were poor and black play a role? Would this even be admitted in this day in age, or must it just be implied due to the myth that we are living in a “post-racial” society?

Ohio Mom Kelley Williams-Bolar Jailed for Sending Kids to Better School District

By Andrea Tanning and Leezel Tanglao

An Ohio mother’s attempt to provide her daughters with a better education has landed her behind bars.

Kelley Williams-Bolar was convicted of lying about her residency to get her daughters into a better school district.

“It’s overwhelming. I’m exhausted,” she said. “I did this for them, so there it is. I did this for them.”

Williams-Bolar decided four years ago to send her daughters to a highly ranked school in neighboring Copley-Fairlawn School District.

But it wasn’t her Akron district of residence, so her children were ineligible to attend school there, even though her father lived within the district’s boundaries.

The school district accused Williams-Bolar of lying about her address, falsifying records and, when confronted, having her father file false court papers to get around the system.

Williams-Bolar said she did it to keep her children safe and that she lived part-time with her dad.

“When my home got broken into, I felt it was my duty to do something else,” Williams-Bolar said.

While her children are no longer attending schools in the Copley-Fairlawn District, school officials said she was cheating because her daughters received a quality education without paying taxes to fund it.

“Those dollars need to stay home with our students,” school district officials said.

Sentence Intended as Deterrent

The district hired a private investigator, who shot video showing Williams-Bolar driving her children into the district.

The school officials asked her to pay $30,000 in back tuition.

Williams-Bolar refused and was indicted and convicted of falsifying her residency records.

She was sentenced last week to 10 days in county jail and put on three years of probation.

She will also be required to perform community service, the Beacon Journal reported.

Williams-Bolar said she was being singled out.

“I don’t think they wanted money ? ,” Williams-Bolar said. “They wanted me to be an example.”

Presiding Judge Patricia Cosgrove acknowledged as much.

“I felt that some punishment or deterrent was needed for other individuals who might think to defraud the various school districts,” Cosgrove said.

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