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. Larry

    Kind of like stealing a loaf of bread to feed your starving family...

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

      What angers me most is that now with a felony conviction she won't be able to become a teacher and get her family out of the wretched living environment they are in.

      Is it a crime to want a better education for your children? Apparently only if you are of color in this country.

      January 26, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Turd Ferguson

      @onwisconsin
      It's all Palin's fault!

      January 26, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barbara

      @onwisconsin....she's a criminal....I wouldn't want her teaching my kids...she got what she deserves

      January 26, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Melpie

    This whole story is disgusting and I am appaled that they even TRIED to send her away for 5 years!!??? Are you kidding me? Some child molesters don't even go away for that long and in this case she was doing exactly the opposite of that. She was trying to protect her children by giving them a better education, a better chance to learn, and a better chance to have a better life than maybe she herself did.
    The school board and the legal system should be disgusted with themselves.

    And to Mrs. Williams-Bolar, I truly hope you feel no shame in this sentence. There is nothing more wonderful than a mother trying to protect and give her children a good future. I commend you.

    The Ohio Justice system is an absolute JOKE!!

    January 26, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • sophistocat

      this COUNTRY is a JOKE in **COLLATERAL MURDER** see it ...your TAX $$ at work ...talk about disgusting ...see it

      January 26, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sherry

    This is what is wrong with our system they let illegal aliens do whatever they want, go wherever they want, this woman who was doing everything right got convicted on a technicality. If the children were living with their grandparents throughout the week then I don't know what the issue is. This decision needs to be appealed.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • JV

      I ws waiting for someone to bring up this ridiculous argument. All else fails, blame the "Illegals". Yes it was them who convicted Williams-Bolar of this, yes it was the hard working hispanics who deciphered the crime rate where she lived. Let's go all the way and blame Obama for it all. No no, let's blame Palin! I'm sure the native americans (not Indians) who said the same thing.."They let whites do whatever the want but we get put on a reservation to rot..."

      January 26, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dan514

    I understand that laws are created to handle these situations but how about some logic by the justice system. This woman's father lives in the school district, had stated that the kids live with him, maybe not all of the time but allot of the time, so the taxes are getting paid. This mother just wanted the best for her kids, was working towards a degree and a better life for her family and they not only drag her to court but put a felony conviction on her record so that she can't use the degree she has been working towards. This is ridiculous.

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

      She can get the degree, but she can't get a teaching license, due to a felony conviction. This is ridiculous!

      January 26, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • onwisconsin

      KL,

      She probably won't get her degree. I teach in a teacher prep program at a major university. I doubt with a felony on her record she'd be allowed to student teach, which is a requirement for graduation. Therefore, she will not receive a degree in education.

      January 26, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lcf

    Wow – here she is trying to make things better for her kids and herself – now because of a conviction that is outrageous she can will not able to fulfill her own dream and teach there! It's not like she was handing out drugs or locking her kids up in a closet – she was trying to give them a better education!

    January 26, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jules

    If the school district where her child was designated to attend is considered "unsafe", then by all means this mother has a right to find a way to improve her children's situation. All schools should be safe. If a school isn't safe, it should be closed down. After all, the grandfather is a resident and children often have to stay with grandparents, especially if the parents are working. I commend this mother. She should have never been detained.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cristina Banuelos

    Absolutely ridiculous!!!!

    January 26, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joe

    Kelly, you keep your chin up girl. You're the best mother I've read about in a long time.

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

      she will WIN on the Appeal...Nonsense ..just more Dysfunctional Government making an excuse to keep their soft Jobs

      January 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Wow

    Sutler...taxes are paid by all of the residents of that county. Therefore, her father was paying the taxes for the area in which his grandchildren were attending school. Maybe she was not paying taxes, but her father was. So, my thought is that if what she did is so wrong because she was not paying taxes for that paticular district, then people who do not have school-aged children should not be paying a school tax AT ALL. I'm just saying, get off you idiotic soap box.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kurt

    That will teach her! She should have lost her citizenship papers and walked across the border, then back into the U.S. THEN it would have been OK.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Suzy-Wisconsin

      Kurt maybe you should get thrown in an ocean for all the sharks to eat your a$$!!! Get real ya moron!!!

      January 26, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • tickmich

      SAd,but I agree with you Kurt. Where's Jesse Jackson and AL sharp ton?! For the black people my ass!

      January 26, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lisa

    To prosecute this woman is insane. They should fix the crappy schools instead.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • sophistocat

      see Collateral Murder ...it explains what Your government does ...in this footage they Kill News Media and Children AND EXPLAIN it to YOU ....

      January 26, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jenn

    Wow. Ruin the woman's chance to get her career going, and you're pretty much guaranteeing she and the children will not never get out of that ghetto. This is absurd. I understand the law is the law, but really? Jail time and a felony charge? I hope she has a good lawyer that will appeal this conviction. People do this ALL the time in my area, and the worse that happens is they demand you put your child in the right school.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Suzy-Wisconsin

    I APPLAUD this lady!! If I had another choice to school my children because the other showed poor graduation rates compared to the other one. HECK YEA I'D DO IT IN A HEART BEAT....I have four children of my own and would have done the same thing!! It is our right and responsability to make sure our children get wht they deserve and need and of course an education is one of them!!!! Check the ammendments people!!! This lady SHOULD NOT BE PUNISHED period for her actions!!!!! We as parents, it is our responsability to give them, guidance, help, love, protect, clothe, shelter, and feed. But the funny thing is when a child is a habitual no show and leaves school sick, they are right there to jump on the parents a$$ because they are not getting the education they need!!! Hmmm think about it would you want your child going to a school that showed poor graduation rates??? My guess probably not!! It is time people put their foot down and help this lady as much as possible because in the right mind she did not do a darn thing wrong!!!

    January 26, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Denise

    Outrageous!

    January 26, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • sophistocat

      more outrageous COLLATERAL MURDER ...see it it explains

      January 26, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jane

    Im white and even I can tell her sentence was to teach others some kind of lesson. The judge should have lowered the charge so this women's schooling was not done in vain. He's going to punish her for such a petty crime that she cannot continue her career path? That's the real crime here, pathetic..........

    January 26, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • sophistocat

      pathetic ...see Collateral Murder ....you will need a new word ....BUT it will open YOUR EYES

      January 26, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • bold78

      sorry for posting this on your comment Jane. But shut up about Collateral Murder... no one really wants to see you post that under everyones comments sophistocat

      January 26, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      Perjury is not a petty crime. Look to the crooked politicians that have served hard time for perjury, they will tell you that it is not worth it.

      January 26, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
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