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. TaxpayerMama

    I question her motives, as well. I understand living w/parents past the age of 21 is not desirable – why wouldn't she just stay with her dad until she finished her degree? That seems to be the better (legal) option as opposed to breaking the law. Obviously, zoning regulations for the school system are a big deal in Ohio (here in LA – it would be a matter of simply telling you your children can no longer attend until you meet the zoning qualifications). I know a family in my neighborhood who use the grandmother's address for school purposes, because the neighborhood they live in is less than desirable. So, I'm not blind to situations such as these or unempathetic to them. However, the resolution is to make the choice early on not to have more kids than you can afford to properly support and educate. Problem solved.

    January 27, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mattie Mosby

      You are pathetic!!!!

      February 23, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sharlyn

    This isn't about race. We are all being jerked around here, not just Blacks, not just Whites, not just Muslims, not just Latinos. We are all victims of a system that doesn't work.

    January 27, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharlyn

      What happened to the post I posted half hour ago, that said.... this is about political agendas, money, big business, it's not about a woman who put her kid in the wrong school.
      It was censored for what? It got too close to the truth? You want to keep the conversation about education and not the truth? Wow. There was nothing offensive in that post. I think you just answered your own question.

      January 27, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharlyn

      This blog is censored and doesn't allow all sides to have their say. I'm out, your being run in circles. To stay on the topic they want it geared towards.

      January 27, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cat

    What the heck everyone, what she did was wrong. But jail, felony, inmates clothes and airtime without the whole story? C'mon, if everyone in the U.S. went to jail for this particular "Crime", there would be a whole bunch of kids at home, across the country, without their parents. Where are her kids and who's looking out for them in the meantime? What was the school districts part in this? Was she given viable options for other schools? Did she try to get them into another school without success? What is the whole story? Hang in there young lady, we are rooting for you.

    January 27, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chris

    1. I just don't think the crime fit the punishment and 2. She had a family member residing in that district – why can't his taxes serve as tuition for that school?

    January 27, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kelly

    If she wanted them there, she should have moved there. She got what she deserved.

    January 27, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. SCOTT

    THIS LADY NO MATTER WHAT COLOR WAS JUST TRYING TO BETTER HER KIDS EDUCATION. THE KIDS COULD LIVE WITH POP OVER 50% OF THE TIME. LET HER STAY. IF SHE IS WILLING TO PAY FOR THE TRANSPORTATION ,TO AND FROM SCHOOL SHE SHOULD BE FINE. YOU SEE THIS ALL OVER THE US THAT PARENTS CHANGE SCHOOLS. I DID IF MY KIDS NEEDED TO GET A BETTER EDUCATION.. LET HER GO!!!!!!!!!

    January 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jenny

    I think she did the right thing and is a good mother. They shouldn't put her in jail!

    January 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Carol

    This is amazing, not one, I repeat not one greedy bloodsucking banker has been charged with a felony or a parking ticket for that matter. Since people in power in Ohio like picking on poor defenseless, struggling to do better black females, I think The NAAACP should be contacted. Let's see how good they feel about the case and the prejudice judge when everything isn't stacked against the defendant. Another words when both parties have about equal resources to spend on the prosecution and the defense. Bet it's a much different outcome. Someone who has kids and their children are stuck in a district who is still taking taxpayers money but not performing (unaccedited) should have all these school dicticts in court for failure to perform. How can you still take money and not perform?
    Now all you people who are overjoyed about this, don't be surprised when they run out of the other folks to screw with and they come after you, because they will and they can, because you have let them! Sooner or later you get what you deserve.

    January 27, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Andrea Vega

    I think its terrible that this is a felony conviction; the article said she was twelve credits short from receiving a teaching degree and up until this point she has worked as a teachers aid....its such a sad thing that she had worked so hard to get off of government assistance and now will be forced back into the cycle just for trying to ensure her children go to a good school where standards are met and students have a higher rate of graduation....its really a terrible thing....

    January 27, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Karen

    The school district spent $6,000 'investigating' this case and spent the time and energy going after this woman but say it's not racial? Would they have bothered a white woman? I doubt it.
    I'm white by the way. Until this nation can offer the same education to everyone regardless of their neighborhood, then this mother was justified in what she did and to give her a five year sentence with all but 10 days suspended is wrong. If anything, the courts ought to be apologizing to HER for having to go to such desperate measures to get her kids a SAFE and Substantial education.

    January 27, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. just unjust

    bottom line is she broke the law and she should be punished but the punishment doesnt fit the crime. i work in the courtroom and i see people of the other race get a slap of on the wrist for doing things of this nature. now she gets a felony while doing nothing but trying to improve her life but when she is sitting home and collecting welfare people are quick to call her a bum .she needs to appeal this to the highest court possible and get this felony removed. Some white people are arrested and charged with crimes that are 10 times worse than this and the case never even makes it to the courtroom ..(.thrown out by the judge). its ridiculous and unjust. The real issue is why should she have to send her kids to another district to get proper education and why would the school prosecute her and spend so much money on an investigator. They should be investigating all of the racism in copley.

    January 27, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ambro

    Wow, let's be real. People of all colors can be "prejudged" by people of another color. I am white and lived in 99% black neighborhood for several years. Please don't try to tell me that white people can not be treated unfairly. Now, I realize that it is not to the level that the African Americans in the in country have experienced, but it does happen and demeaning another based on their skin is wrong, no matter what. But what this woman did was wrong. She broke the law and cost the (better, but lesser funded) school district $30K. I believe that if I had done the same thing I would have been charged as well, in fact I know white people that have been charged for school enrollment fraud. They rented an apartment in another district so their child could play football and no have to sit out a year for a local transfer. They did not live in the apartment, they only paid the rent and continued to comute from their home in another district. They were fined and the school that the kid played for had to forefit every gme that the kid had played in for the season.

    This woman wanted it taken to the courts and refused a settlemet ith the school district...she gambled and lost...just as she gambled by sending her kids to the wrong district falsley.

    People, we can not teach our children that the way to get what we want is to lie and to take what does not belong to us underhandedly. It must be done correctly in with integrity. She could have moved in with the father and the problem would have been solved, but she gambled and lost. This is the consequense that we face for doing things wrong. Again, the district did not want this to go to the court, they simply wanted the children removed to the correct district and offered her a deal to repay a portion of the fund they lost. She chose to take it to the next level, not the "evil, rich, white school district."

    Personally, I think that it might be good that she can not teach. We need quality teachers with high standards of integrity teaching in our school system. Her morally relativistic philosophy is not betterr that the very teachers she claims to be avoiding in the district in which she lives. Hopefully, something good will come out of all of this for her and the school districts invloved.

    January 27, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ambro

    Wow, let's be real. People of all colors can be "prejudged" by people of another color. I am white and lived in 99% black neighborhood for several years. Please don't try to tell me that white people can not be treated unfairly. Now, I realize that it is not to the level that the African Americans in the in country have experienced, but it does happen and demeaning another based on their skin is wrong, no matter what. But what this woman did was wrong. She broke the law and cost the (better, but lesser funded) school district $30K. I believe that if I had done the same thing I would have been charged as well, in fact I know white people that have been charged for school enrollment fraud. They rented an apartment in another district so their child could play football and no have to sit out a year for a local transfer. They did not live in the apartment, they only paid the rent and continued to comute from their home in another district. They were fined and the school that the kid played for had to forefit every gme that the kid had played in for the season.

    This woman wanted it taken to the courts and refused a settlemet ith the school district...she gambled and lost...just as she gambled by sending her kids to the wrong district falsley.

    People, we can not teach our children that the way to get what we want is to lie and to take what does not belong to us underhandedly. It must be done correctly in with integrity. She could have moved in with the father and the problem would have been solved, but she gambled and lost. This is the consequense that we face for doing things wrong. Again, the district did not want this to go to the court, they simply wanted the children removed to the correct district and offered her a deal to repay a portion of the fund they lost. She chose to take it to the next level, not the "evil, rich, white school district."

    Personally, I think that it might be good that she can not teach. We need quality teachers with high standards of integrity teaching in our school system. Her morally relativistic philosophy is not betterr that the very teachers she claims to be avoiding in the district in which she lives. Hopefully, something good will come out of all of this for her and the school districts invloved.

    January 27, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Wolverine Fan in Akron, Ohio

    Don't any of you who are posting here think it is ironic that she is bad mouthing the very same system she is working for and drawing a paycheck? She claims to Akron Metropolitan Housing that she and her daughters live in Akron to get low income housing but claims they live somewhere else so her daughters can get a better education? She is literally stealing from one of them and if you feel this is right in order to obtain a better education then none of you who support her have any morals or ethics.

    January 27, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jail Bird

    Yes, because she cost the district $30,000 let taxpayers pay $40,000 a year for 5 years to keep her in prison. Great law, really sound logic there.

    January 27, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
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