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. Wolverine Fan in Akron, Ohio

    January 27, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Julia Gold

    Parents in her situation should move to a different country, where they can work and give the children a better education than it is offered here. You need to go where your life will be better and where you can offer your children a better life. I am sure she could migrate legally to many countries, with better education accessible, even if her life will be hard, so it is here, but at least her daughters will have a chance. Why stay here if you have no hope for a better future? What is the point of staying in America if you are so miserable and your children are doomed to a bad life? WHy stay here, if this country does not offer you real opportunities, not even to your children for a better life? At least you try to rescue them....

    January 28, 2011 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  3. LEM

    ???: I also know of, not 1, but several white families that lie about their addresses in order to get their children in a better school, and white students who lie about their addresses in order to get free tuition, etc. in college. So what's your point? I'm almost sure that if the records of this so called white school in Ohio should be investigated it would be discovered that parents of white children coming to their school, had lied about their addresses too, but no private eye was hired to spy on them. I have heard of schools that just kicked them out when they were being caught, but not being prosecuted. If they think she should be prosecuted, then do it! Let her serve her time, if that will make them feel better. But why taking it a step further to rob her and her children of their future by taking her career away from her? Just because she used a false address to get her children in a better school? Why did the school board have to report her? They could have just expelled the children. This is pure evil. This is hate. This is prejudice!! And this is what prejudice does. It's vindictive and cruel.

    January 28, 2011 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. Beth

    So many people do this that she had to be singled out. I think it is a waste of money. The school saw black kids and looked into it; something they would not have thought twice about if the students were NOTt black. Discrimination at its worst against children trying to get an education.

    January 28, 2011 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. No US person

    What a sick country, it's not a big issue and you sent her to the jail ???
    In the Asia, this is normal, parents always want to send kids to a school in a better area. sure need the authorized.
    She maybe is wrong in USA, but you can ask her spend hours for the community but send her to the jail, what her kids will think about this?
    USA is not a free country I think.

    January 28, 2011 at 3:20 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mother of 2 boys

    The sad part is this woman knew that if she wanted her daughters to receive a good education that would allow them the opportunity to a better future, she had to do this. She is a single, working mother, who is trying to receive a degree to make a difference for children like hers who are usually not thought of or cared about. The stupid No Child Left Behind Act is what we have to thank for this. Just give the kids passing grades so the feds won't shut us down. Wow, what a way to teach our children responsibility. Don't worry about working hard in school, you will pass regardless. As a single mom, I appreciate and commend that she is fighting for her children. Its not easy poor or middle class. If this does not make the Department of Education look at our education system in America, what will it take???

    January 28, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  7. Disgusted

    Would this ever happen to a suburban white mother? No chance in hell. I am white and can't stomach this story or our 'justice' system.

    January 28, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. Greg

    This is absolutly disgusting... The prosecutors should be prosecuted... good luck lady...

    January 28, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. shorty

    i guess i dont understand how they are saying she stole money from the school district. if the father of the children lived within the school district was he not paying his taxes?

    January 28, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. steevo

    So she was not a legal resident in that district and was prosecuted. What about the millions of illegal immigrants that are sending their kids to our public schools paid for with our tax dollars. They are not legal residents of this country let alone the district they school their kids in. They are the real criminals but I guess our laws don't apply to them since they are not US citizens. Our government better start getting it right...

    January 28, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Erica

    She did what she thought was the right thing for her children. For her to be in jail when some states let you go to school of choice no matter where you live. Lock up the criminals and catch up on the DNA database instead of putting this mother in jail when all she wanted was a better chance of a education for her kids.

    January 28, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. James Dowley

    She broke the law, therefore she should be treated as a criminal and serve jail time like any other criminal. Period.

    January 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tj

    Hmmm.......Lets see. I am going to send my kid to school with a bunch of racists. That will teach them to be Civil Rights attorneys. Sounds like a crappy plan to me.

    January 28, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. tj

    I attended Copley- Fairlawn schools k-12. There are very good reasons why they are so good and alot of it has to do with the great community. This young lady played the system on both sides and now she is paying the price plain and simple. If she wants her kids to go these schools then be part of the community. That way people will embrace the family. This is how it works here. This is not a race issue, but a simple issue of having just a little bit of class. There are plenty of African-Americans who live in this school district and I can tell you right now what they are saying , but many of you may not want to hear it.

    Go to work, buy or rent what you can afford within the district and send your kids to Copley. This town is filled with farmers, mechanics, business people, doctors, lawyers, blacks, whites, asians, muslims and everything seems to go pretty well as long as you carry your weight and don't expect handouts. Some of the nicest people you ever want to meet live here. Just don't disrespect their hospitality.

    January 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matthew Freedom

      Doesn't their father do all of that?

      February 23, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. leo svengali

    Wouldn't it be ironic......if the kids were taken away from the mom while she was in jail and sent to live with her father (grandpa) and therefore forced to go to school at the very school where the mom got in trouble in the first place:)

    January 28, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
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