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. John

    The actual criminal here is the justice system. We hear about innocent people being jailed all the time now for totally ignorrant stupid stuff. 80 yr olds for not mowing thier lawns. Parents for correcting thier children. Not compliying with pip squeak complaints. Cops tasering innocent people to death and cops beating minors when does all this stop!

    January 26, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • sophistocat

      when YOU and others HAVE YOUR VOICE HEARD ..then REASON will Prevail ...see** Collateral Murder ** lunacy and they have the nerve to try to EXPLAIN it ..killing news media and Children

      January 26, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. paris

    You can hear about all the wrong people or a person does and we judge them, juge them hard for it. But this mother, black mother, single mother wanted the best for her children and because of that she is now going to lose any chance she had at getting a good or decent paying job, her children can't be supplied an equal education and she is also so prole. I don't understand how this mother can be brought up on charges for trying to give her kids what is best. She isn't out abandoning them, doing crack or not caring for her kids. She was trying to educate herself and her children but now she is wrong? This makes no sense at all. You talk about how our children(anyraces children) need to do better, how single parents have it hard but then you go and make it worse. The government is just corrupt and they just want to hand out a pass to jail for anything. what about the district that is only meeting 4 of the 26 standards??? but i guess that doesn't deserve anything. It doesn't matter that these children attending the school thats doing worse are not receivng an equal or proper education because they are in the worse neighborhoods. WOW unbelievable.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. KsMomOf3

    This is complete BS. I can't believe they consider a loss of tuition and wasted money on a Court case for a Mom trying to give her kids a better education. If she and her children were technically living with her father for the most part then why couldn't they consider that her residence, or at least request that she move there permanently or remove her children from the school. That's complete nonsense taking a case like this to Court. Furthermore, the Judge is apparently a real twit for letting it all go through as well. Ridiculous! Who knew it was a crime to get your kids an education.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JT

    And they always accuse us in the South of being racist

    January 26, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Denizen Kate

    Finally we have a shining example of a good, caring, minority single mother pulling out all the stops to improve the lives of her children, and what do we do? Punish her? Make it so she has a felony criminal record and can't get work anywhere, much less in the profession for which she has been putting herself through college? Do we WANT these people on welfare? Beam me up, Scotty, there's no intelligent life down here.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • sophistocat

      you will need more than a Beam AFTER you see **Collateral Murder ** ...go ahead educate yourself see it

      January 26, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. crburt

    Pretty typical for our completely biased, broken and totally screwed up justice system. The jury should have to send their kids to the school the Mom was trying to protect her children from. And what's with this felony crap. We have a hard working single Mom tying to make things better for herself and her children and now her and her children are endanger (by the hand of our government) of becoming more of a drain on our welfare system. Sometimes I'm really ashamed of us!

    January 26, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ellie

    Let's get the school voucher discussion going again!

    January 26, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joe-Cleveland (Iraq right now)

    If you people would actually read the article, you would realize that the school district always tries to settle these things out of court. I have known people who have done this. and they usually just remove the child from the good district and put them in the correct district. They obviously tried with this woman's children, but she wasn't hearing it. Look at you now. This is a very touchy issue in Ohio, people who don't live in the district trying to mooch off those of us who pay higher taxes to live in a decent district. If she wanted to her kids to go to Fairlawn schools she should have moved there and paid the taxes for the district instead of trying to freeload. I have absolutely no problem with this sentence.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adrienne

      In the article it said she was using her father's address, who is paying taxes in that school district. How are they cheating the system? It's not like she was using a fake address.

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

      if you are serving in Iraq, thank you for everything and no disrespect here, but if you did read the article, her parents their grandparents live in that school district, and they have been living at both addresses. so if its not good enough her grandparents pay taxes for the schooling, then maybe they shouldn't have to pay nor should anyone else who don't have children in school. thats only fair. her parents paying taxes, so whats with the big deal of them not going to that school. just saying. maybe this law needs revamped. i think they have worse things to worry about than a mother trying to get a higher education for her children and a safer area for them to play.

      January 26, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • VikW

      She obviously didn't pull her kids out because she believed they had the right to stay put. An Immediate relative of the family does pay taxes in that district. That being the Grandfather who shares his residence with his grandchildren in an effort to provide them a safe home. How is that mooching off of others? Why shouldn't his district tax dollars count for his own grandchildren who share his home? Quite frankly, I think if you don't have any kids attending a public school in the district you live in, none of your tax dollars should go to that public school system. Oh wait a minute, it does take a village to raise a child, now doesn't it? Or at least, that's the kind of values we pretend to have in this Country. Somehow though, some of us are "moochers" and some of us are not.

      January 26, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. TxGirl

    This is just plain BS. I know tons of families that use relatives' or friends addresses to get into a better school. You know what happens if they get caught? The kid gets tossed from the school. That's it. Jailing a lady who is busting her butt to get her and her kids OUT of the projects and make a better life just because she used her daddy's address? That's just outrageous. I'm white and say this just screams racial bs.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CS3

    WOW! This is incredible! Name one school district in the country that doesn't have kids from other school districts going to thier schools. This is obviously a racial issue, no matter if they admit it or not. Anybody who doesn't think so is most likely predudious themselfs.

    January 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John

    We're behind you Kelly this so called unjustice system.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Flafox

    This is terrible. This mother was doing her daughters a favor by enrolling them in a school that provided a better education than they were receiving. Working single mom, not anybodys welfare queen. I would have done the same thing. She needs to get a good attorney and sue the hell out the school system. Why was she being followed? Isn't that called stalking? Her father pays taxes to the school system, and his grandchildren cannot attend the school? Somethig is. Very wrong here. I am sure if that school district dug a little deeper, more parents would be keeping her company in jail.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Daniel

    Addressing the short-term first, the punishment does not fit the so-called crime. There are people who commit crimes against other people and property who receive lesser sentences. If you want to punish this woman, take her child out of the better school, and place the child in the school which the parent wanted to avoid. Believe me, that's punishment. Jail? That's borderling barbaric and, at a minimum, excessive. Aside from that, incidents like these make me embarrassed to be an American. I guarantee that politicians – or, anyone with political connections or influence – would have their child in a private school (which I'm sure this woman can't afford) or do whatever was necessary to have their child attend the best school within practical commuting distance. If the people in authority – from the President of the United States down to the local jurisdictions – want to improve the educational system, here's an opportunity to back up their words with actions. At the very least, instead of jailing this woman, why not try to understand WHY this woman used a false address to send her child to a different school. Instead of these knee-jerk societal reactions (yes, I get it, she broke the law), let's prove to ourselves and to the outside world that our nation really DOES set the benchmark higher than all others for judicial sensibility, civil understanding, and social and cultural sensitivity. The power structure needs to stop looking purely at the surface, and to start doing its due dliigence in getting to the root of problems.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joysie

    God forbid thid woman wants to actually.....(gasp!!) be a parent! You normally have to flush out quail and snakes under rocks to find decent parents anymore. This woman is not only making sure her kids get every advantage she is setting an example by going to school HERSELF. No wonder Akron is such a cess pool.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lydia

    The school district couldn't come to a resolution without having the mother now have a felony conviction? How moronic and please don't tell me she wasn't singled out!

    While it may have been a violation against the school rules but to charge her and give her 5 years for a non-violent, what comes out to a ridiculous charge is more than mind boggling!

    I hope she appeals or some attorney comes to her aid. I believe the charges were outrageous and a quite a bit racially motivated.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
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