Mother who put kids in wrong school released from jail early
Ohio mother Kelley Williams-Bolar is led off to jail after her conviction last week.
January 27th, 2011
11:06 AM ET

Mother who put kids in wrong school released from jail early

An Ohio woman who was jailed for tampering with records to get her children into a better school district has been released from jail a day early, according to a local newspaper.

Kelley Williams-Bolar left the Summit County Jail on Wednesday, having served nine days of her 10-day sentence, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

Williams-Bolar, a single mother living in subsidized housing in Akron, used her father's address to register her two daughters in the high-achieving suburban Copley-Fairlawn school district.

Copley-Fairlawn said the improper registration cost it $30,000 in lost tuition and $6,000 in investigative costs.

The case has drawn national media attention and outrage, much of it due to its racial undertones: Williams-Bolar is black, while the Copley-Fairlawn schools are predominantly white.

A Google search for Williams-Bolar's name turns up 131,000 results.

Williams-Bolar told CNN affiliate WEWS-TV in Cleveland that she plans to appeal her conviction. The local chapter of the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network is trying to raise money to fund the appeal, the Beacon Journal reported.

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Filed under: Crime • Education • Justice • Ohio • Race • U.S.
soundoff (855 Responses)
  1. Oy

    This breaks my heart. As wrong as the action is, she was just trying to do better by her children.

    January 28, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Peg

    A felony?!!!!! I agree it's wrong to break laws but this seems to be excessive punishment for a caring parent and for her daughters to experience their mother being jailed. This reflects the unbalance in our justice system.

    January 28, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mary

    This is about race. If she were an illegal alien Mexican, the kids would be allowed into the school with free breakfast & lunch, free bus rides, free translators, free tutoring, after-school care, healthcare, foodstamps, and the mom would get a welfare check and free/reduced housing!!

    January 29, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joeyanna

    The Public School System is broken because the government runs it. If you want your children well educated you should take them out of the PS altogether (we homeschool-and we are NOT a wealthy family, we simply do with out to ensure our children receive the love and care and education they deserve). That being said, I worked in the PS system for years and know that many administrators turned a blind eye to where children lived in order to receive the money the government would give the district for their enrollment. That being said, it is appalling that so many folks here justify lying by saying you can do it if it is for something better for your children; the lack of integrity, personal responsibility, and accountability shown by the citizenry of this country is tragic. This woman should not have been jailed, but their are consequences when you don't follow the rules. You have a right to send your children where you want, to ensure they receive the education you want for them, but you must comply with the law. There are provisions for this but you have to be diligent; if this woman had been she could have enrolled her children in this very same school during the School of Choice enrollment period. Finally, playing the race card yet again, makes people hard-hearted to true injustices of a racial nature; these really do persist in this nation, but the fact that wolf has been cried so very often means that justice will not prevail in real instances of said nature.

    January 29, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  5. Eric Hughes

    How did they lose a scholarship, and why were they investigating her? Second, why is it wrong to want better for your kids? And last, why is this an issue, if the children involved are not an issue..

    January 29, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. michelle

    I don't even know where to begin with the outrage I feel about this. Any parent that is any sort of parent would do what they have to for there children. In one blog I read wear she should move and buy a house in the district where the girls were going to school. HELLO people she was living in low income housing, did anyone bother to read that she, the mother was enrolled in school trying to make a better life for herself where as she could make a better life for her children? I'm not black so not playing the race card either, if anyone could it would be I, raised in a small town in southern Georgia. I to was a single mother of two girls, no family and no ex around to help out. I would have and did do whatever it took for my girls. My oldest had heart problems at 14 and needed surgery, I made just over what was consider enough not to get help financially, I committed insurance fraud surgery was done and my daughter is healthy and will graduate grad school this year. It may not be the best thing to teach our children to do whatever you have to but in this so called great United States people are stupid to think that all is fair, Glass Houses people, guess you have never done anything wrong, as in lied on your taxes, maybe saying you paid money to a charity when you didn't, list could go on and on. So she wanted a better life for her children, come on people, what has happened to the humanity in people? Very simple, her father paid and is still paying taxes for that school district, evidently there are no children living at home, so he is paying for other students to go to school there and paying teachers salary's and PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS, nice to see where tax payers money is going...... not to students who need a better education. I could go on and on all day, but some get others will never, maybe there lives have never been touched my any sort of tragedy to make them feel humble towards each regardless of race.

    January 30, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. BroBro

    Crime is a crime. Doesn't matter if you're white or black. There's no racial undertones. If she wasn't committing a crime she wouldn't have been convicted. Has nothing to do with if she's black or not..

    January 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. KJBushway

    @KJBUSHWAY

    Do you really think stealing and being a criminal is setting a good example for other mothers? If she wanted her kids to go to a better school she should have waited to have children until she could afford to give them that opportunity. My parents worked hard to get out of Detroit, they didn't steal their way out

    January 30, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Melonie

    People all over this insane country have there children in the wrong school. This shows you how racist this district is to question from the start why this woman's children where there. I'm pretty sure she was going to drive or bus them herself from the start. Whomever started the investigation from the start is a flake. Find another hobby buddy.

    January 30, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Robert

    Wonder how many talented poor Black athletes are playing for wealthy schools and live out of their district.

    January 30, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. CincyCat

    I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, as a mother, I can appreciate her feeling trapped & wanting a better education for her children. On the other hand, I know that rules are rules.

    I guess the option to have the grandfather become legal guardian of the kids while they were attending school did not cross her mind. Or, maybe that option was considered but found to be too expensive.

    Either way, I hope this case does what it should – expose the gross inequity in the American public school system. On the surface, it seems to be racial, but it is really socioeconomical. Ask the white parents of kids growing up right now in rural Appalacia how their public school systems are working out for them...

    Right now, the largest portion of our property tax bill goes to the local school district. Property taxes are calculated based on property value. Where we live, homes are very modestly priced, and as a result, we have lower property taxes. The school system is so-so.

    If you drive 5 miles up the road, however, homes are much higher in value, and the schools are a million times better.

    (We decided long before having kids that we wanted them to have Montessori education, which is tuition paid, so we chose to live somewhere with lower cost of living...)

    If we are going to have State or Federally funded schooling (and I'm not saying that's the answer), then funding should be distributed evenly to all districts based on the # of students attending. It should in no way, shape or form be based on property taxes.

    I just don't see why someone should have to be well off in order to send their kids to a great public school.

    January 31, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheDailyGrowl

      She had other options - there are some good charter schools in Akron, and they don't cost anything. She might have been able to put them in parrochial school through the voucher system – if eligible, wouldn't have cost her a penny either. What does defending her say to all the parents - Chinese, Arab, White, Black, Jewish, Muliracial, Hispanic, who live in the school district and voted to tax themselves more when she got her 2 kids a free education for 2 years? Maybe we should all cheat - that'll fix the system. Akron Public Schools value the education of each of their students at $13,000, with much of that money coming from the state. The district she cheated spends under 10K per student, and the property owners in that district pay over 70 percent of their property taxes to the school district. It is not by any means a wealthy district - just a community that highly values education.

      January 31, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • danny

      I wonder if her kids had been good atheletes whether anything would have been done or would this school recruited them and allowed them to attend free as is the case with most private schools when they get the chance to bring a good player on campus.

      February 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • GvilleT

      Yes...I agree with you 100%

      February 18, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jack

    We live in a socialist state. All children deserve equal public funding for their education. Every day we fall short of this communist ideal is simply uncalled for and appalling.

    All this – and we're still talking about allowing illegal aliens to attend publicly funded universities as one of their "rights."

    January 31, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • TeeBrown

      I agree with you and Rich is an idiot. Every child deserves a chance at a quality education. Living in the right area is the equivalent of winning the lottery for children who have no say in where they reside. They don't have any control over where they live or what distric they fall in. Who is to say that she didn't try vouchers or charter schools? It is so easy to pass judgement on other people when you are in a better situation. The bottom line is our education system is a joke and kids who live in low-income areas through no fault of their own suffer the most.

      February 14, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • DenverGrl

      So what Rich is really saying is that America has a caste systems and that those in the lowest caste should stay there with no opportunity to improve their lives. That is not an American value I subscribe to, and I doubt many others do either. The children of this country are the future of this country, yet we treat them like trash. These children have the potential to do great things for this country in their lifetimes, but we don't give them the best shot at success. It's really sad. Every child deserves a good education. I don't care what neighborhood you live in. If we had a more equitable school system, then the issues our cities face such as gang violence, drug addicts, etc. would be greatly reduced. A good education that instills confidence and self worth in a child goes a long way, as does a good parent(s) that supports that child's education in the home. I wish the best for this woman and her children. Though, she now has a criminal record, and she won't be allowed to teach, so she'll be jobless, which compounds the issue. I don't think she thought through the possible outcomes of her actions because she was so desperate to help her children. What parent wouldn't be?

      February 14, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      If we live in a socialist state, why are we all not making $7.25 per hour?

      February 23, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. Angel

    Good for her, doing what ever she can for the safety and education of her children. All parents should care as much as she does. And she knows how important education is, she is just the teacher I would want for my kids. As a student of LAUSD through my life and a mother myself trust me most of us or people we know do/did this very thing. It is what we have to do for our children. She is a hero.

    January 31, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jay

    Any parent who values education has to be able to understand this, really. What's really wrong is that a person has to comitt "fraud" just to ensure their kids can get a safe and worthy education! That's where the focus should be, lets try to correct that instead of damaging a concerned hard working moms future!

    January 31, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anthony Peterson

      And thank you Jay. Fix this and one fixes every childs educational shortcomings.

      March 26, 2011 at 5:10 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jamie

    For those of you who are saying this is because she's black you're wrong. I'm a senior at Copley. I'm both black and white. While our school is predominantly white it's also one of the most diverse schools in northeast Ohio. Which is why my parents moved from Akron into the district so my brother and I could go here. There's affordable housing in Copley and Fairlawn. Our schools have recently been cracking down on people illegally sending their kids to our school because there are so many. By no means do I like people I know getting kicked out of the district. But something like 40+ other people illegally going to school were also found and either left the district or payed the tuition. The only reason she went to jail is because she refused to do either. Don't judge my school cause of this one article. This IS NOT a race issue.

    January 31, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • You wish

      Um, if Obama is black, then you are black. Can't have it both ways, no matter how much diversity training has brainwashed you. Sorry kid.

      February 2, 2011 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jamie

      My mom is white and my dad is black. clearly im both. do I just pretend my mom is black. no. cause shes not. I am both black AND white. I'm not Obama. I'm me. I was white and black before Obama was president and I will be after hes not.

      February 6, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Txma

      Good for you Jamie being a voice of reason. You live there and have first hand experience, they don't. Don't let idiotic comments like those from "You wish" get to you. Unfortunately those type of idiotic comments come from all races and people like that don't get it. They want to feel special because of the color of their skin, not because of the goodness that is inside a person. There are a lot of good people in this world, they just aren't as vocal as the negative ones.

      February 11, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • KatyMay

      Good for you Jamie, you sound like a smart cookie. I too am a single mother, and we live in a VERY small place in a very good school district. We could have a really nice place in a bad school district. There are choices in real life, and this is one of them. People choose to procreate irresponsibly, choose to live on welfare, and then feel that those of us who made better choices should fund this irresponsibility. Most of us choose where we want to live based upon school districts. School taxes are sky high where we live, so having people jump districts makes my blood boil. Sorry folks, you made your bed, you lie in it. If you insist on ghetto morals, you live with them. Do not force them on the rest of us, or our children. This member of the village is tired of paying for you.

      February 25, 2011 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
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