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 (698 Responses)
  1. 0 for 4

    Who do I call or write to have this idiocy reversed and removed from her record. What an awesome Mom.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • StrBellydSneetch

      0 for 4, I agree completely. I would love to give the Ohio legal system or the judge that presided over the case a piece of my mind.

      January 26, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • sophistocat

      sadly they are a GANG ...no one will listen.....(kids know that and form their own ) see **collateral Murder ** it explains this country...

      January 26, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mike

    If you had to pick one story that shows what's wrong with America today, this would be a front runner. It has everything. Racism, crappy schools, unjust sentencing, really messed up priorities....I guess I could have stopped at racism because it's all connected.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mya

    Hey OH – maybe if you improved your schools and didn't let them run themselves into the ground, you wouldn't have parents desperately trying to skirt the system to get their kids into a better school.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. cathy

    So now that she is in jail, will her father take care of the kids and now they will LEGALLY be going to the correct school? So hat does the school system get out of this?

    January 26, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • sophistocat

      like a pack of wild dogs attacking this righteous Woman ....see *Collateral Murder * more unbridled government Power at work KILLING news media and Children ..oh but hey THEY EXPLAIN IT..DUHH

      January 26, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ICantBelieveIT

    This is totally ridiculous!!! An outrage!!! The charge her with a freaking felony because she wants something better for her children? OMG!!! nothing like beating her down and then taking her life away. Now she has wasted credits to be a teacher, all for what??? Cause Akron cant get its crap together??? How pathetic!!! I think they should graduate this woman as a teacher and let her teach in the urban district....its quite obvious they couldnt do worse than what they have now....I am just shocked that any society would charge a person with a felony for something like this...as i said when i started...HOW RIDICULOUS!!!

    January 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. StrBellydSneetch

    This ruling angers me like none other. What has this mother done wrong? Every day we read about parents beating their children, killing them, mentally abusing them, not feeding them; the list could go on forever. And what, the legal system punishes a woman that wanted her children to learn in a school system that could help them achieve their goals and that would have fewer of the negative influences that are often associated with poor performing schools and the students that attend them? And, to add insult to injury, they took away the woman's dreams of becoming a teacher? Her one chance at providing a better life for herself and her children, her one chance to move OUT of government-subsidized housing and to live on her own two feet in a neighborhood that offered better schools? I can only hope that the public outrage associated with this injustice helps her win her appeal because this is absolutely insane.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • sophistocat

      see *Collateral Murder** it explains everything

      January 26, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. brad

    Absolute BS, all the so-called officials should be ashamed of themselves. Jail time for using a relatives real address to send kids to a better school shouldn't even be questioned. But what can you expect from a state whose biggest university prides itself in being able to spell Ohio.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • sophistocat

      see Collateral Murder ...it explains Government ...

      January 26, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mky

    Wow. I have a huge issue with this. This woman is actually going to school to try and better herself and provide a better life for her family. She is living in government assisted housing, but now because of this ruling will be unable to teach when she has put in the time and effort to get herself OUT of government assistance. This ruling was beyond unjust. I know that schools have issues with people faking addresses, but to punish her by not allowing her to get a better job not only hurts her, but it hurts her children and all of the taxpayers and citizens of Ohio. Is there no way to let this woman move up in the world?

    January 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ZestyDeluxe

    This is just RIDICULOUS! With today's modern family's MANY children have more than one address. Sometimes the dual addresses are because of parental shared custody, and sometimes a grandparent's home serves as the second home.

    This situation is exactly like mine. My grandchild went to my home's school district because it was central to both Mom and Dad's address. Beside, my house was truly my grandchilds 3rd home. She has a bedroom at my house, and I pay taxes. Never knew residency was so strict. Or maybe it's only strict for black folks going to school in the white suburbs. This case is nauseating – if that ruling isn't overturned, that poor woman, that is trying to turn her life around, won't be able to work as a teacher. This is a complete abuse of the legal system and smack of discrimination!

    January 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  10. The_Mick

    She got 10 days. Big deal. I taught in an excellent suburban Baltimore school system and it was common for parents in Baltimore City (which is not in a county and has its own school system) to use a relative's address in our county to send their kids to school, often transferring them mid semester after some violent incident. I'd get these kids in chemistry class a dozen weeks into the school year and they'd have learned nothing. I asked what was covered in their City class and they often said the teacher spent 90% of his time keeping the class under control (the parents and the courts have virtually taken away all authority). The kids would come after school to catch up, and often did, so I know they weren't making up excuses.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Debbie

    Wow, talk about a racist action. This is not about obeying the law. It's about hanging someone because of their color and nothing else. Can't believe this is the USA in 2011.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Turd Ferguson

      Nothing to do with the fact that she broke the law? Yeah, the only racist here is you Debbie.

      January 26, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  12. km2011

    I pity her for getting busted, but she did violate the law – just like many people (of different races) do on this issue. Its apparent she rented a single bedroom home in the bad school district (meaning low rent) to be employed there and sending her kids to her dad's place for the better school district and not contributing to fund the school district running. It is not fair for other residents of that good school district who may or may not have children in school but pay higher property tax – they are the one picking her kids tuition fee in terms of higher property tax. She should have moved in with her parents to avoid this situation. We all can give different definition to primary residence, but legally there is no such a thing as "both are my primary residence".

    January 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • tim

      aren't illegal aliens doing the same thing & theyaren't paying any taxes to our schools.

      January 26, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ATLANTA28

    II think a parents has a right to pull their child out of a horrible school and into one that will allow them to prosper. The taxes were being paid either way so I dont think she deserves JAIL TIME...... maybe this article should also be about abolishing Mandatory Minimum sentences and Severe punishment to which she could argue in court the Eighth Amendment.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. temty8

    This makes me so mad. Not only do they punish her for wanting a better life for her children, now she will not be able to teach or get a decent job, making it impossible for her to ever get a better life for her children. I would have done the same thing for my children. I hope she appeals.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. fed up beyond hope

    This is f-ing wrong....why was she prosecuted? Really why? I lived in Akron and I can tell you when you have a black woman working as hard as this woman was to become a teacher and have her children educated...she should be rewarded. Akron is still stuck in the middle ages...men..white men are the superior mold and run everything . The only thing to do is leave there as fast as posible...I did leave and never looked back Copley-Fairlawn is a rich and white township and will always strive to keep it that way. This woman should file a cival rights suit...law suits...anything and everything she can!

    January 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
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