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. DasLeezard


    I would hate to see what some people would say about military families and other people trying to get a better life moving and enrolling their kids in a school where they moved... they didn't pay the taxes in that school district, either.

    Yes... hang her from the highest tree to look out for her children's safety and well-being. Thankfully she got screwed out of a career that she was working toward.

    Am I extreme enough yet, or should I start adding rhetoric about Muslims having something to do with it?

    January 26, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Austin

    To everyone that is judging this lady and her children and don;t even know her (such as Sutler) Last I heard GOD made the final judgement on everyone's soul (yours included) I feel she is justified in wanting to see her children receive a better education. Unless you have proof that her children are drug dealers or proof that she isn't doing as she should be I would suggest that you keep your opinions to yourself because GOD does not like ugly and you are being just that. What if it were your kids? (Of course it wouldn't be because i bet your white) You would want what is best for them i would hope. As every parent should want what is best for their children and you pay taxes but it goes into a big pool and then is given out. (I serve as a superintendent and happen to know this) Every school is not given the same amount which is why some schools are better than others and that is not right, All schools should receive the same funding and provide the same standards and then these kinds of things would not happen.

    January 26, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      Oh so now Mr. Superintendent Austin NOW you're trying to regulate opinions. You should get you records together on how many people you are sending to jail in Ohio for being out of district cause deputy Eric Holden will be asking!

      January 26, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DisgruntledGrrl

    "This is a serious matter," Glenn said, according to the paper, "but by all means, it was done to help her children."

    By removing her from them? Oh look – the kids will have to live at her father's address in suburban Copley Township now.

    January 26, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yup

      Good the kids will LEGALLY being going to the school that tried to get rid of them in the first place. AND they STILL don't get the money they, apparently, desparately need because the mother will be doing time. This whole storey makes me SICK!

      January 26, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oops

      You got this mixed up. Her Pastor is Glenn. He was saying to the courts that the issue was a serious matter, but that she did it for her kids so they should show her leniency. Also, I'm sure she wouldn't have her kids taken away from her for a 10 day jail sentence.

      BUT the issue here is that this is the stupidest thing any of us has ever heard. Crushing this woman's dreams of becoming a teacher? Subjecting her children to a poor education by not given her options? That's why we're all outraged. Why not put the school board in prison for having such poor test results and graduation rates? I bet if these kids were boys and great at football they'd have looked the other way...sad...

      January 26, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Watson

    Do we throw illegal immigrant parents in jail? They enroll their children in school and their residence is outside of this country. Nobody should be in jail for trying to get their kids a better education.

    January 26, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Motherof5

      You are so right!!! Here in Louisiana, a "homeless" or "illegal" child can go to any school in the district but those of us that actually pay the taxes and live here have to go where the schoolboard zones us to go! No exceptions! What a load of crap!

      January 26, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. AK

    She only wanted her daughters to have a better education, so now they have punished her and I'm sure nothing is being done w/the failing school district....
    and to all you people that said she should just move to the better school district, ....really, its really that easy to just pick up and move?
    and to who ever turned her in, your part of the problem.....

    Our education system is one of the worst in the instead of fixing it, punish people for seeking out better....really ignorant

    January 26, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. juju

    This one ticks me off! A mean spirited school district combined with a judge who can't see the big picture, only who's money is paying for what school. All our children deserve a safe,good education, not just those in the "good" neighborhoods. That's what I was taught America was about. I was apparently lied to. An extremely sad commentary on the pettiness of America. Let the kid go to school where the Mom feels safe!

    January 26, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kate

    There is more going on here. This is not an isolated incident in this country and for her to be given jail time at all is pretty far fetched. It appears that the district spent an exhorbitant amount of money prosecuting this woman which I believe boils down to race. The district is 75% white where she enrolled her children. She's a good woman whose children resided in two homes. Ask any divorced parent whose ex lives in a better district if they did/would do the same thing. When children spend equal time between parents/grandparents, this situation is not unique. This woman is in the process of completing her teaching degree & now she will not be able to teach in this State because of this. I would be looking at Civil Rights violations with the District. She is definitely being singled out.

    January 26, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. c5babe

    I find this story outrageous. Why are parents forced to send their precious children to a school which has failed all but four of 26 standards? Children are our futures, and I cannot blame a woman for looking out for her future. But she should have been smarter about the whole thing. She should have moved in with her father, or, failing that, given him primary custody of the children so that they would have been enrolled legally. There's more than one way to skin a cat. Unfortunately, now she won't be able to teach because of her conviction. Now what will she do? Probably remain a drain on the public welfare system. The whole thing is sad.

    January 26, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kimiko

    It is a sad day in this world where our children, our most precious commodity, is denied a quality education due to the color of their skin. This sounds to me like a classic case of rascism!!!!!!!!!!! I am OUTRAGED!!!!!!!!!! I have a very difficult time understanding how this is allowed to happen. You have a mother who wants the best for her children and she has been thrown in jail. As for the individual who made the comment "and isn't just some welfare mom" that has nothing to do with a parent wanting the best for their children. On assistance or not the majority of us wants what is best for our children and the comment was very insulting to all parents!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 26, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. kiwigirl

    This is ridiculous. A felony? That's way more of a waste of tax payer's money than her kids going to the wrong school. I can't believe that crime is so harshly punished.

    January 26, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tina

    Are you kidding me? She is doing jail time for this. What a joke. Real criminals walk the streets after violent crimes every day. If she had $$ she wouldn't see a second of jail time. Disgraceful. Spend some time catching people who actually hurt someone.

    January 26, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Maureen

    I think everyone who reads this and is as outraged as I am – should send a letter to that court and tell them. This is the story of a mother trying to act in the best interest of her children in spite of everything against her. Can a good lawyer take this into an appellate court and help her? Please some appellate lawyer please help that lady!

    January 26, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Apollo

    Williams said to WJW-TV. "I mean, I can protect them better if they was with me."

    If they WAS?

    She's 12 credits away from earning a teacher's degree at a university and this is how she talks? And she wants to be a teacher? No wonder Americans can't read, write, or speak anymore.

    January 26, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |

      Her father said that. Not her. Your reading comprehension sucks so you have no room to judge anyone else.

      January 26, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lanfear

      That quote was from their FATHER, not their mother, dolt.

      January 26, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • fact check

      That was her father speaking.....

      January 26, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Unbelieveable

    I can think of about five athletes in my area who went to my highschool and did not live even remotely in the district. The school wasn't "hiring investigators" to make sure they were paying taxes!

    January 26, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Los Angeles Reader

    Separate but unequal is what it sounds like. Separate but equal means every school gets the same resources, regardless of locality, or race. Seem like the school district is allocating more funds to one school as opposed to spreading equally. Ohio needs to revisit Brown vs. Board of Education.

    January 26, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
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