Mom jailed for enrolling kids in wrong school district
Kelley Williams-Bolar is escorted through the Summit County, Ohio, jail.
January 26th, 2011
12:24 PM ET

Mom jailed for enrolling kids in wrong school district

An Ohio mother is in jail after being convicted of tampering with records to enroll her children in a better school district.

Kelley Williams-Bolar, 40, of Akron, illegally registered her two daughters at her father's address in suburban Copley Township to get them into the Copley-Fairlawn school district rather than the urban Akron district, a jury decided.

The Akron City school district met only four of 26 standards on the latest Ohio Department of Education Report Card and had a 76% graduation rate. Copley-Fairlawn City Schools met 26 of 26 standards and had a 97.5% graduation rate.

Summit County Common Pleas Judge Patricia Cosgrove sentenced Williams-Bolar last week to five years in prison, but suspended all but 10 days. Williams-Bolar also must serve 80 hours of community service and will be on probation for three years.

The Rev. Lorenzo Glenn of Macedonia Baptist Church had asked the judge for leniency, saying he had known Williams-Bolar for more than 20 years, the Akron Beacon Journal newspaper reported.

"This is a serious matter," Glenn said, according to the paper, "but by all means, it was done to help her children."

Williams-Bolar told CNN affiliate WEWS-TV that she and her children considered her father's house one of their homes.

"My primary residence was both places. I stayed at both places," she said in an interview at the Summit County Jail.

Williams-Bolar's father, Edward Williams, told CNN affiliate WJW-TV that the children did live with him, so he believed the family was within the law.

He said his daughter's Akron neighborhood where she lives in government-subsidized housing isn't safe.

"She had 12 police reports that her house had been broken in, so what am I supposed to do? Just leave them there?" Williams said to WJW-TV. "I mean, I can protect them better if they was with me."

Williams-Bolar, a single mother, works as a teacher's aide at a high school in Akron and is just 12 credits away from earning a teaching degree at the University of Akron, according to the Beacon Journal.

Her felony conviction will bar her from being licensed to teach in Ohio.

Copley-Fairlawn Superintendent Brian Poe told WJW-TV the case cost the district $30,000 in two years of lost tuition and $6,000 it spent on the investigation.

He denied that Williams-Bolar was singled out because she is black and the Copley-Fairlawn district is 75% white.

The district almost always resolves residency cases without involving the courts, he told WJW-TV, but couldn't work out a resolution with Williams-Bolar.

"The way I look at it is, the bottom line, you need to follow the law," he said. "If you choose to step outside of the law, what's going to happen at that point is you are going to have to face the consequences for that."

Williams-Bolar told WEWS she intends to appeal her conviction.

Grand theft charges against her father resulted in a hung jury. No new trial date has been set.

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Filed under: Crime • Education • Justice • Ohio
soundoff (699 Responses)
  1. Mel

    If someone was dying of a curable illness and had exhausted all options to obtain treatment but could still not afford it, should they illegally obtain it and if so do they deserve jail or should they silently give up and die? Just because it is a law does not make it right. Slavery and the inability for women to vote were once law. Does that make those things right? Why do we even allow a school in our country today to only meet 4 of 26 standards? During a time when our education system is failing children and apathy overrides our obligation to each other as fellow human beings, I for one want a teacher who teaches her students to not simply blindly follow, but to question authority and stand up for what is right. I am ashamed of our country right now.

    April 27, 2011 at 6:51 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Shelly

    This is a bunch of mess. I do believe she was a target cause of color. They could have just removed the children from the school and charged her with a fine. This is the way they try to keep blacks down. Now she was trying to do the right thing and they have stolen that from her as far as becoming a teacher. I hope she don't give up with the appeal and I will keep her in my prayers.

    May 11, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. peter keskeny

    I fel sorry for her BUT!! Let me quote this: "I can protect them better if they was with me."
    A person speaks like this... and quote again: "just 12 credits away from earning a teaching degree at the University of Akron" NOW THAT IS VERY VERY SAD! I hope those last 12 credits are about proper english...

    May 12, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Emkins

      Peter, perhaps you' re the who needs proper english instruction esp. on Reading comprehension! Her father said that ..."they was..." phrase , not the woman! Now I feel sorry for you...

      May 17, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steph NE

      so lets recap, you feel she has improper english but she is also part of the troubled school district, hence why she possibly wanted more for her children. You live what you learn. Public schools, which are publicly funded should have an open door policy and not one American child should be turned away. How "public" are public schools when we have a women of color behind bars for wanting an education for her children equal to the standards of a specific public school. How can we consider these schools seperate but equal under these conditions? What right does a publicly funded school have to turn away American children who want to learn? What has happened here is an injustice to all Americans, and we should all be fearful as to what freedoms we expect and enjoy as Americans that are at a loss if no one stands up against this.

      December 31, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      That was her father speaking.

      July 28, 2013 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  4. Golden Baculpo

    Now, what a nice beginning but i'll have to look into that a bit more. Will let you know what else i've found.

    June 15, 2011 at 1:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Anthony Lawson

    Where are the complaints from the parents of the school that has failed? This woman's plight should have been the cause for a local uprising of support for her, and demands that no one should have to break the law for the sake of their children's future. The entire case is an indictment of the inequality of the "American Dream". For most people, it is a nightmare, and the people who have brought this prosecution are the culprits for attempting to keep it this way. The people who should have been prosecuted are the one's who allowed a school to deteriorate to such an extent that some brave woman could do nothing other than break what is obviously a law which should be rescinded, until all education is equal in all schools in any given district or state.

    October 11, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. ABASSAT

    How do you jail a Mother foir something so stupid?? I get a fine or some sort of community service but Jail?? For trying to get her kids into a better school. The US law system FKD UP!

    November 25, 2011 at 2:16 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Jennifer

    It is not right nor is it fair that because a child lives in a certain area or school district they must go to the school in their area. The school my children go to always has headlice. There are always fights going on when the children are walking home from school. Is it so bad that we want our children to get a better education, or spend their 61/2 hours of school studies in a better surroundings? Just 4 blocks away from my home is a great school lincoln Elementary. yet my children have to go to Mckinley elementary because its just 2 blocks away from me. When lincoln focuses on the children that attend their 100% more than Mckinley does. I know alot of parents that lie and say their child lives at an address to whom actually belong to the childs grandparents, aunt, or uncle. For that their child does much better than they did at their previous school. I believe that the mother in this case was trying to do better for her children and not just settle for what has to be. You take a childs mother away from them, but punish her for taking a bad school from them. This society is not what it needs to be. Its not as tho she wasn't taking them to school.

    March 22, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. good

    personally I think the fact that they overturned the initially sentence is rediculous. this lady knew what she was doing was wrong and i her neigborhood really was as she says then perhaps she should have just moved her children to her fathers house instad of continuing to live in the "unsafe" nieghborhood. I actually know someone who has also done this and the only reason her children are enrolled in another school district is because it is more convienient for her and has nothing to do with better education or safety.

    April 23, 2012 at 1:01 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. ridiculous

    this is a perfect example of the flawed system that we live within and the fact that the gap between the classes in this country is growing at an alarming rate. separate but equal huh? ridiculous. if there is a riot, they deserve it.

    June 23, 2012 at 6:25 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Cassie

    This is the most inhumane thing I have ever heard... not only are you trying to say that this law is more important to a child's future, but you are ruining all the hard work she has put into her own schooling. This woman was trying to make a better life for her children, and offer them a future where they don't get shot, or drop out of school. Things like this are why the crime rate is so high in America to begin with. I thought we were supposed to be free? I will home school my child before she gets wrapped up in all of this mess, and if I was this woman I would have done the same thing. So more power to her, and she can move to SC because the teachers here are low par to begin with I'm sure they would invite someone who is actually willing to work with open arms!

    July 15, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • URSILLY

      i don't think i can emphasize enough how much i couldn't care less.

      July 15, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Local Baby Sitting

    Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to mention that I have really loved surfing around your blog posts. After all I'll be subscribing in your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

    September 25, 2012 at 7:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Wink

    I actually felt sick reading this. This is yet another example of how money rules over the lives of children. The school district just wanted her in that district because a school get paid for each student enrolled. Everyday a child misses school the district loses money. This was clearly a good mother trying to do what was best for her children. She probably couldn't afford to live in her father's neighborhood. Wasn't it safer for her children to walk home to her father's house anyway. It disgusts me that any judge would not vote in her favor. I am ashamed to be American sometimes.

    January 6, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Robert Rodriguez

    Is fraud a state or federal offnse to give an old address to register a child into a district school they no longer live in.
    I'm a criminal justice student and need inforamtion for school paper

    February 9, 2013 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. k9transports

    I see that this school system and state is screwed up for not caring that the parent wanted likely the best for her child or children as most parents do or should want. What is wrong with this? The other school district was doing a bad job with the rating and wanted the child in a better district where children have a better chance of education and future. USA is not doing good on freedom with government taking and limiting it and has their noses in everything, schools in USA are going to the crapper and school districts in the USA. Glad I won't be living there! Moving but sure crossing off states and cities for their stupidity left and right.

    July 5, 2013 at 5:48 am | Report abuse | Reply
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