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. Ann Frantti

    There has to be much much, much more to this that the school district probably cannot disclose because of confidentiality.
    It is a real leap of faith to think that a school district spent $6,000 immediately when it was discovered that this woman lied. Come on...this story is intended to inflame. Would be interesting to know the entire story but we probably never will as the media makes her a victim.

    January 26, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Margaret

    I'll sure sleep better tonight knowing this woman is off the streets. Gotta watch out for those good parents who want only the best for their kids.

    January 26, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Akimofro

    Go to jail if you don't enroll your kids in school. Go to jail if you enroll them in the wrong school. Go to jail if you discipline them the wrong way. Go to jail if you DON'T discipline and allow them to become worthless punks...and this, ladies and gentlemen is the land of the "free".

    January 26, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Concerned mom

    This is a disgrace. There are people that commit murders that get treated better than this. I bet the people responsible for putting her in jail sent their kids to great schools. Truly disgraceful!!!

    January 26, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • buttonbuck

      If they sent their kids to better schools they earned or most likely paid for it. Or maybe they did it legally, what a novel thought.

      January 28, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. blowmypride

    I was nodding in approval after seeing the picture of the "mom" jailed for trying to sneak her kids into a different school district. Never would I accept this in my local neighbor and neither should any readers that care about their children's education. Her kids in a better school? HUH. Highest probability her kids would be skipping school, bullying other kids, selling drugs, and tearing the place up preventing real students from learning and getting their education. Sending, er forcing, these low income losers to top quality schools such as in my neighborhood is an insult to real Americans compromising their education. Lock her away. She's no good to society.

    January 26, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guy Parent

      Well, if GIRLS could be that bad, then I'd worry for sure.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
  6. monk

    this is just about the most retarded thing I have ever seen anyone pursue legal action over. education is one of the strongest predictors of future success and if America is going to succeed in the future a better educated population is a good place to start.

    January 26, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cryos

    Why should people who sacrificed their lifestyle to pay more to live in a nice area where parents care about kids' educations and the kids don't destroy school property have to pay for other kids?

    The lower income district spends more money on the schools so don't be fooled into thinking it;s "not fair." It's not the higher income schools' fault the lower income schools' parents and kids are a disaster.

    January 26, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Trish

    I can't believe this poor woman was jailed for such a thing. Having the kids booted out of the school was punishment enough. How about a strong warning here. Most schools in our area have open enrollement. I personally know several people that have done this and are currently doing the same. When you want the best for your kids, sometimes you've got to break a few rules. She's not stealing off shelves in a retail store or out smoking crack. THis woman is trying to provide a good education for her children the best way she could.

    January 26, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Poolchick

    I can't believe this. Really? This is what the courts are waisting money on? I personally don't think she should have been charged for wanting a better education for her children. At least she is a parent that cares enough about her kids future where others are abusing or killing their own and don't even serve a full sentence for such a horrendous crime. This world has gone to the chit house and the law/justice system is one of the problems. Wow, this story still blows my mind.

    January 26, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Cryos


    BTW, I am white middle /upper class and see racism all over this one...someone below said it non-athlete. This stuff is breaking our hearts and confidence in the American Way!
    Wow you are self loathing and brainwashed. Why do white liberals think it is noble to hate themselves and be racist against their own race?

    This doesn't have to do with race. This has to do with someone lying. Grow up.

    January 26, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • concernedcitizen

      So what about those people who dont have kids who pay taxes for your kids to attend school? Do you realise that if you more than one child attending school YOU too are stealing from them?
      Save me the self righteousness...
      You are the first person here to complain about single mothers not caring about their childs education and then the next minute you are chiding a single Black woman who was willing to do anything to ensure her kids get an education. In the meantime some students out there have just a potential teacher......
      Conservatives like to speek from both sides of their mouths too bad they cant see how often their positions are high contradictory and highly hypocritical

      January 26, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. l2_k

    Our society tries to make everything fair but some kids do not deserve that fairness. Instead of the "no child left behind" crap, how about "quality education for those who want it and deserves it" We bus far too many dumb kids around to better schools, but in effect bring the overall quality of education down to fit their needs.

    January 26, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Cryos

    soy sauce

    Ever think that this whole thing might have been avoided if the quality of schools were better? There should be no such thing as a "good" school district and a "bad" school district. ALL schools should be tended to equally to produce quality students and future generations. Instead, we jail concerned parents...something is seriously wrong here. America is clearly not the land of the free, never was, never will be.
    January 26, 2011 at 6:24 p
    Noble thought but the reality is a lot of these "poorer" schools spend a lot more money per student but the trashy parents and kids are what make the trashy school.

    January 26, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cryos


    Our society tries to make everything fair but some kids do not deserve that fairness. Instead of the "no child left behind" crap, how about "quality education for those who want it and deserves it" We bus far too many dumb kids around to better schools, but in effect bring the overall quality of education down to fit their needs.
    January 26, 2011 at 7:00 pm
    Exactly. Americans "wonder" why we're falling behind and having so many problems while we blindly, naively cater to the lowest common denominator.

    January 26, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guy Parent

      The choice is painfull: congenital elistism or democracy.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. Daniel Bushong

    Hmmmm, I wonder what race the Judge was.

    January 26, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yeah, right.

      It was a JURY that found her guilty. That's right. Ordinary citizens heard the case and decided she broke the law. The judge was actually very lenient in sentencing. She could've gotten 5 years.

      January 27, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cryos

    Daniel Bushong

    Hmmmm, I wonder what race the Judge was.
    January 26, 2011 at 7:04 pm
    Simple minded people like you always make simple minded assumptions.

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