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. listentou

    This reminds me of the history of White Americans trying to keep Black Americans from succeeding. This would not be happening if all schools were equal. Dag. Americans we have bigger things to worry about(war, jobs) than this mess. Blacks and whites are marrying now and having children. America we got to get past this. We had the Civil War. Lets stop fighting each other. Blacks are here to stay and you should already be use to it. If that is something you can't abide ; LEAVE AND GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! and stop whining. There are many unoccupied islands available. Live by your white- a..- self. I wish you good travels. Good-bye

    January 26, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Motherof5

    This is exactly why my husband and I pulled our children out of the craphole they called an elementary and junior high school here in Louisiana. We homeschool because our children were zoned to one school yet my neighbors kids went to the better school all because they had an address they could use! We moved here from Texas and my kids were a full 2 years ahead of the kids here. I can totally understand this mother wanting better for her kids, however she broke the law. I am certain she is not alone, she just got caught. I think they puninshed her a bit harshly and she should fight to have it removed from her record.
    No child left behind is joke and needs to be done away with. The smart, good kids are forced to stay at levels that accomidate the kids who do not want to learn. I have seen this 1st hand. My son had a 15 year old in his 5th grade class. He was not in need of special ed, he just did not care and niether did his parents. The kids were bullied by this teenager and when the parents complained, we were told the school had an "obligation" to educate him. I told the principal that she had an OBLIGATION to every other kid in the class to get an education without fear of being bullied and having to deal with someone like this brat! After that, we pulled our kids. 6th graders having babies, 18 year olds in 8th grade...yeah No child left beind has really helped our education system...insert sarcasm here!

    January 26, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jon

    How did the grandfather cost the school anything. He does, by all accounts live there, yes? So he does pay property taxes in that school district yes?

    And, I love this part, the children will now live with that same grandparent full time, thus they will now be fully within their rights to go to that school!!!

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

    Obviously this judge is nuts! He treated this poor woman like a drunk driver or murderer-some lesson to teach her children! I hope someone helps this family move out of a state where murderers get off with less time!

    January 26, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Disgusting

    Absolutely disgusting and disgraceful. Convicted rapists get sentenced to less time in jail...

    January 26, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. TonyInNYC

    Apparently some children are still left behind.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dave254

    ARRESTED? She should be REWARDED for caring enough for her kids to try to get them out of a cesspool district.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • buttonbuck

      Then she could have done it legally!

      January 28, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. LeeLee

    YOU ALL ARE A BUNCH OF TEA PARTY HYPOCRITES.......I wounder if the table was turned & you were a white person livin in a crime ridden neighborhood and you do have them they are called trailer parks you knowthe place were the find a lot of meth labs & you wanted to make sure child had the chance to get a good education you it's everyone right for that what would you have done. I see why LEBRON left smart decision for leaving a BACKWARDS city & state

    January 26, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jessica

      I think your CAPSLOCK might be stuck... might want to check on that. Anyhoo, not all poor Whites live in a trailor park. I have a tiny apartment bordered by a train track and a highway. I call it shabby chic ; )

      Instead of lying about where I live, I applied for a transfer so that my child can go to a different school. It's easy and it's legal. Had this mother tried this (and perhaps a little honesty) she would not be in her current situation. As an educated woman she should know that.

      January 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. akron resident

    If she did indeed move in with her father, she should have moved out of her Akron subsidized housing home and stopped taking other benefits from the government for living at an address that she did not live at. If she had "officially" moved out of the Akron house that they proved she was living in, she would not have been taken to court, and she would not have thrown away her college and future career. I know she was doing it for the kids sake, but there are legal ways to look out for your children too.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. HC Harvey

    After reading this article, it made me think a parent or two in her children's school took it upon themselves to get this lady caught. Then the court system decided to use a heavy hand and make an example out of her. As a mom with two kids in a good school that everyone wants to get into, I understand where this mother is coming from. She wants her kids to be safe and well educated. I'd can't help but feel race and economic status is more at play here than most people would like to admit.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. tired

    Here is a Woman trying to give her children a better education so that they can live a decent life when they grow up and not live on Welfare not to mention bettering herself so that she can take care of her children and you people condemn her for doing so ALL that you have done is destroy this womens dreams of a better life, proud of yourself now ? why aren't you out there looking for her deadbeat husband and jailing him for non support which I'm sure he's not paying any and what about putting your efforts into creating a better school enviorment in the district that she was to have enrolled her children If It's such a poor quality school as the report says someone should be bringing charges against the teachers and principle and school board not this i women who wants a better life she was will ing to do what she had to to do better herself , everyone else is just sitting around and letting the school destroy lives and dreams

    January 26, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • gwats

      That doesn't give her the right to STEAL, and that's exactly what she did.

      January 26, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Donna Noland

    Are they CRAZY? Looks like the Grandfather was living in the proper school district and probably paying property and school taxes. So why can his grandchildren not be educated there? I smell something rotten here. It would be a totally different case if she had used some fake address but this was a relative. AND, she won't be able to teach now. This is insane! Where is the ACLU when you need them?

    January 26, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      I cant help but notice she is a black woman...... I wonder if she was white would they have put her in jail or just gave her a small fine.... hmmmm...????

      January 26, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • redleader

      She has a LEGITIMATE case. Hence the ACLU wouldn't want anything to do with it.

      January 26, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • S

      Totally agree! How did the school district "lose" $30k in tuition if the grandfather was paying his taxes? The county was collecting taxes from him and every other person with no children and the money used to fund schools. If he decided his grandchildren could live with him-even part time- doesn't that earn him a right to say if they can use his tax money for school?? This makes a good case for school choice-her school district was awful so she opted to send her kids to another district, funded by her father's taxes.

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

      I don't understand, Her father is paying taxes there, the kids are including in the head count, so what's the problem? I smell racism to the fullest! BOYCOTT OHIO!

      January 26, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aloisae

      I don't know how they calculated the $30k in lost tuition... however, the state/federal portion of the tuition that the schools receive is based in part on the income level of the parent and where they live. Since the kids were coming from out of district to attend, they weren't being calculated in the amount that the schools received from the state which would have cost the district at least $8k in funds they should have received but wouldn't have for these children. Plus, since the students where she lives (as opposed to in the school district where she sent them) receive significantly more in the per student calculation from the state and federal government, it would actually be over $30k if the district received none of that money and about $22k difference if it was calculated but calculated at the wrong rate.

      January 26, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • tim

      if it were illegal aliens children the school district would be under fire & the ACLU would be leading the charge.since illegals aren't legal residents of this country .why doesn't this law apply to them ?? especially since their legal residence is outside this country.

      January 26, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Turd Ferguson

      @Frank, the guard is black too. A conspiracy perhaps? Tool.

      January 26, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. RLG

    Wow. Extreme reaction much?? Maybe the people who came up with that sentence should send their kids to that school for a year and see how much they like it. Nothing like tying the woman's hands so she can't even change her situation, either. I wonder if they'd be so harsh on a white woman...

    January 26, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Andrew

    In England countless parents fake being religious, go to church, suck up to the priest, donate, everything... just to get their kids into a safe and productive environment. It's the government's responsibility to make neighborhoods safe and schools productive, there are proven methods for doing so, so who really needs to be taught a lesson and disciplined? The LAZY NO GOOD OFFICIALS

    January 26, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tony

    Ohio has a way to tell anyone that is not white to stay in your place.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
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