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. Roland

    How nice of the same people who are responsible for the utter failure of this woman's school Akron district, to then prosecute her for Grand Larceny! It's not like Ohio has this great social reputation, where the rest of America is just going to "naturally understand" the school district's and prosecutor's decision to make this a felony case. I guess now we know why Ohio has such horrible proplems ...and it's not because of women like Williams-Bolar

    January 26, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. PaulaDerby

    If you bring up the race card, it will be a racist issue. People read this article and think "i thought our society was beyond racism, this is so racist!" when nothing in this article screams racism. There are laws against things like this. It completely sucks and i do NOT agree with her having to go to prison but don't turn this into a race issue. It's readers like that, that hold back our society.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • MIKE

      I agree Paula. I'm sorry for what happened. It really should not have happened in the first place. But I am kind of tired of hearing the racism card. It seems like anything that happens anymore to someone who is not white is racist. I have several different religion friends and even they are tired of people trying to use the racist card in this day and age. Thats just so they get out of trouble. It is just a messed up law put in place by some idiots we elect to office. But this should definently be appealed because it is not right. Those kids are our future and they won't allow her to make a better life for her kids and herself. Disgusts me! shame on ohio legislation.

      January 26, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. s3rndpt

    Really? Jail and a felony, because she wanted her kids in a better school? And she even lived part time in a house in the right district? And she's almost got a teaching degree? This poor woman seems to have had the odds stacked against her at every turn, but tried to better herself and her kids anyway- and what does she get for it? Completely screwed over. Unbelievable.

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

    Sometimes I wonder what judges are thinking when they sentence people.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Damien

    Oh Boy, it is your apparent lack of information that would have you making such a comment. You mention how it is funny how the race card is thrown in. I doubt you are a person of color and probably not had much contact with those who are. For the record, I am white. This whole situation stinks of racism. It is the subtle instances which are now being called out for what they are and people apparently like you dont like it, I say too bad. Do you actually think race did not play into this? She is African American, her district is Mainly so, the school where she wanted her kids to go to is predominantly white and now she is jailed with a potentially life long criminal record. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY INSANE!!!!! I recall a story of a lady who refused to give up her seat on a bus. The law said she had to but she did not. The law was wrong and racist. The law being applied in this case is apparently the same. It keeps less advantaged students in less advantaged schools. The votors and tax payers of the great State of Ohio need to take a stand on this lady's behalf. I am dumbfounded that this would have ever been allowed to go to trial by a judge a prosecutor or local police making the arrest. This case, if it is as how it is presented, is not of a system gone wrong but of a system out of control. Not a fan of big Government but this is a good case for the Federal government to begin investigating for civil rights abuse.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • sophistocat

      see Collateral Murder ..it explains your Government ...Federal is no help ...believe me ...SEE it .. become wiser

      January 26, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ellie

    This (incorrect addresses being submitted) happens all the time. I've taught in the public education system for years in three counties, and from what I remember, the parents don't get jail time! The children just get moved to the proper school. Often the motivation is just convenience. So, it seems, and this is only a guess, that since it is an excellent school district, the issue comes up often, and more folks would do it if there was no fear of prosecution. The district would then be overloaded with students that may or may not be paying taxes into the system.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. this is stupid

    As i read most of the post about this case I see that most of you dont know about the neighborhoods in Akron Oh. and I need to correct some of you. I am not saying that she didnt break the law by falsifying information, but I dont think that i parent wanting a better education for themselves and their children should be given a criminal conviction that will hurt them in the long run. This woman was 12 credits shy of getting her Teaching Degree. For the record I dont know this family but I too am a parent who would do whatever is best for the education of my children. Judge Cosgrove is catching heat behind this conviction and this is why she wrote a letter to the State Board of Licensing to ask them not to stop her from becoming licensed. There are murderer, child molesters and rapist running the streets of Akron and they put her behind bars for falsifying information for her kids to get a better education. To The Summit County Court System i have lost all faith in you.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. arealbattle

    thing's that make you go hmmmm. Now being a criminal she cant even teach, boy that should really motivate all parents who try to do their best to help their children and anyone going to school, like whoosh gone in the blink of an eye

    January 26, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Brenda

    I hope someone with resources can help this woman. At least appeal to drop the felony charge so she can finish school and provide her children a better opportunity. My heart breaks for her.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. David

    This is going to get appealed probably at the state level, there really isn't much of a case here imo. The grandfather seems to agree with the mother and he was probably paying proper taxes. This just seems like a very small/poor county did this in hopes of setting some example because their school system is doing extremely poorly.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JT

    Her father paid the taxes for that district, what business is it of theirs how much time they live there?! Notice how it was all black people putting her in jail...you all really sold out! (and I'm white and it still disgusts me).

    January 26, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Amazed

    Normally, I'ld be tired of all the black people crying poor me and throwing the race card while they hold their hands out. But this time I agree with this Mom. She was trying to get them a good education so they can make something of themselves. Plus, it was not a made up address. It was her father's address and I know he is paying taxes. And her neighborhood being unsafe, she probably is spending most of the time at his house. Makes me wonder about Ohio.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. kristin

    wow.. I am glad they did not sentence her to death..

    January 26, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dave

    I say lets start a movement ... FREE KELLEY!

    January 26, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joysie

      Dave you got my vote. I am from Northern CA. We know how to shut down major bridges inside minutes and completely bring a ciy to its knees. Somebody get on the horn and call Oprah. This is total BS.

      January 26, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. atypical

    Martin Luther King once said something to the effect that it is the duty of every law-abiding citizen to support just laws, and that it is also their duty to resist UNJUST laws.
    This ruling is unjust, ignorant. . criminal. I can't help but think there will be forces that will support this mom in her actions, which will ultimately bring about fortuitious events and opportunities for her and her family.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • sophistocat

      see Collateral Murder ...the USA EXPLAINS their Murdering News Media and Children .....long live Casious Clay ....Ms. Parks , and the true Spirit of these United States ...BUT YOU have to PRESERVE IT ...not the lolligaginn Lawmakers

      January 26, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • SophistocatIsAnIdtiot

      sophistocat, you are an idiot!

      January 26, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
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