Ohio Mom Deserves Jail for Sending Kids to Better School


school busIt seems like the whole world is raging on behalf of Kelley Williams-Bolar, the Ohio mom jailed for faking her daughters' residence so they could attend a better school district. How dare a mom be penalized for just wanting better for her kids, the Internet is asking? She's just a poor, black, single mom being hand-picked to bear the brunt of everyone else's mistakes!

Indeed, it's becoming apparent that prosecutors wanted to use Williams-Bolar to make an example to other parents of what will happen when you falsify official documents to fake your kids' way into a school district where you neither live nor pay taxes. That stinks. Really and truly. But guess what, outraged Americans. She's still guilty.

As details of the Williams-Bolar case have come out, I've become increasingly disgusted with her actions. In case you're not familiar with the case, the mom of two girls, ages 12 and 16, sent her daughters to the Copley-Fairlawn school district. The only problem? Neither she nor the girls actually lived within the boundaries of Copley-Fairlawn. They lived in Akron public housing.

Instead it was Williams-Bolar's dad who lived in Copley-Fairlawn. Which meant she should have paid about $30,500 in tuition. So she and Daddy faked the kids' residency, using his address. He's been charged in the case too, by the way.

The interwebs outrage is partly on behalf of the girls, who were able to attend a substantially better school because of Mom and Grandpa's deceit. I can understand that. As a mother and an American, I think we need to work on our schools big time. There's no excuse for the huge gap between achievement scores in poor districts vs. rich districts. There's no excuse for parents struggling to afford school taxes in one area and still having to give their kids supplies every day while kids in another district have everything handed to them. This should not be a haves vs. have nots issue.

But I'm getting tired of the "everyone else did it" defense. It's as ludicrous as saying "well, everyone else was driving 75 miles an hour in a 65, so the cop can't give me a ticket for doing it too." Actually, he can. Because you were still breaking the law, and you happened to get caught. No one held a gun to your head.

I feel Williams-Bolar's pain. I would love to send my daughter to the high school five minutes from my house with smaller class sizes rather than the bigger one 20 minutes away. But I can't without doing what she could have done to get her kids into Copley-Fairlawn: move or pay tuition. I can't afford either of those options. I'm sucking it up because being an American gives me the right to strive for the best, not the automatic right to the best.

This is where community activism, political activism, are crucial. We, as parents, have a responsibility to fight for our kids' rights to an education. We belong at school board meetings and writing letters to our Congressmen. But we also have a responsibility to our kids to be good community stewards. That means following legal channels to get them that education.

Like signing over custody to someone who lives in the district. Or moving in with her dad permanently because he, once again, lived in the district. Or working six jobs to pay tuition in the better district. Or staying where she was, with the kids where they were, and supplementing their education with as much mom know-how as possible.

I won't ignore the charges of racism in this case. If other people have indeed committed this crime, they need to be punished too. But make no mistake, that shouldn't get Williams-Bolar off either. She defrauded a district out of $30,000. Ten days in jail sounds about right.

Will you sign her petition?


Image via KB35/Flickr

education, family, in the news


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

qrex912 qrex912

Yes I will. The school district noticed the out of place black kids and hired a private investigator. Because they pretty much wanted to know how they got there. They were too out of place. This disgusts me. And with each new article I read on this site, I become more and more disgusted with my fellow mothers as well. I can not believe some of these articles.

bills... billsfan1104

She was singled out because her family was black. The school district is trying to say that they spent only 30k to investigate her. I smell bullshit on that one. Yes she kinda broke the law. She kinda lived with her dad. Maybe she should moved in fulltime, but maybe she couldn't. Why should her children suffer an education, because they are poor and black and living in a shitty neighborhood? I thought the school was a public school, so why was she given a bill of 30k? I feel sorry for her. She

nonmember avatar kate

her kids were not the only black kids in the district. other families were outed too.they admitted guilt and paid what they owed or withdrew their kids. shes just the only one who wanted to make a big stink about it.

momof... momof030404

It. Is. Illegal. What she did was WRONG.  Could they be going after her for other reasons...maybe/maybe not. Doesnt matter. She was in the wrong. The OP was RIGHT. And ALL she has taught her children is if something is illegal you should lie cheat or steal to get it anyway if you want it and think its better then what you have. Good job.

hotic... hoticedcoffee

Theft of services is illegal. She isn't kinda guilty, and she didn't kinda break the law.  She lied and falsified school documents to send her kids somewhere she hadn't paid for either by taxes or tuition.  I live in a town with a very desirable school district.  We pay ENORMOUSLY high property taxes for the privilege of sending our kids to these great schools.  I had to provide 5 different forms of id/proof of residency in order to register my kids because theft of services is such a problem in this district.

She's not guilty because she's black, she's guilty because she's guilty.  Not a good idea to play the race care when you're actually guilty of the crime - it only strengthens the bigoted notion that 'those people' can't be trusted, and she's made things more difficult for all the black families that are legally entitled to send their kids to that school.

DebaLa DebaLa

I think the court's judgment will backfire in the long-run. Costs to prosecute criminal or try inevitable civil cases far outweigh the better-spent funds to just fix the broken schools in the first place. So, in a way , Ms Williams-Bolar performed a public service and is affecting change. The judge was shrewd enough to know that more jail time would enrage the public, and martyr the mother. So I think she wins. And I hope someone offers her kid a scholarship to a private school for good measure.

mommix4 mommix4

I've done it. Yes it was wrong and if I was caught I would've owned up and taken my punishment. That was a long time ago and I now home school so I wouldn't do it again. But I knew I ran the risk of getting caught. People need to own up to their wrong doing.

choco... chocolat-smiles

i completely agree with grex912, and Dinapie u disgust me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

luvmy... luvmyarmybrats

Wow Dinapie, really?!  All black people deserve to be in jail and you hope she dies poor?  People like you honestly make me sick.  Coming on the internet and hiding behind some little avatar (cause you don't have the guts to show your real face) so that you can spit out your hate and vitriol!  I dare you to go out in public and try to say something so racist and just down right evil.  





1-10 of 173 comments 12345 Last