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. touristguy87

    "Her felony conviction will bar her from being licensed to teach in Ohio."


    sounds like the chickens have come home to roost.

    January 28, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Concern

    This is an example of what happens when people get feed up with the city officials not taken correct actions to rid neighborhood of bad elements. This lady is trying to do the right thimg to provide her chilld a better education and she is also trying to upgrade her skills to one day get out of that area where she lives. I do understand that she did something wrong, however ask yourself what would you do?

    January 28, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeremy

    Wow... how embarrassing the country has come to this. For crying out loud a felony conviction for trying to put your kids in a school that might actually teach them something. This Mother should get praise for actually caring about her kids education. You cant tell me the police in OH don't have better things to do that harass a single loving parent. If the police are so bored they resort to this, the marines are looking for a few good men.

    January 28, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. buttonbuck

    What is wrong with people. She commited a crime and was found guilty by her peers. She did not win an award for honesty. She broke the law and like everyone else she should do her time and pay back the money she stole. Some of us have to pay for a better education if we want one. It is not free. Wow!

    January 28, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mattie Mosby

      Have you polished your "crown of honesty" lately?

      February 23, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. psychchop1

    This was ridiculous. The sentence was way out of proportion to the crime. Who was protected by this anyway? Both the mother and the kids was damaged by this felony conviction. This should have been a slap on the wrist for what it was. They should have fined her and barred the kids until she moved. But no, lets stick to the letter of the law, and waste a bunch of tax payer money "investigating and proscecuting". Then let's prevent another potential teacher from being able to practice and deny the kids a quality education and send them to a crap school. If good schools could be expanded and bad ones closed due to lack of enrollment, our education system would self correct itself. And yes, this was discrimination. Also, I agree this was silly buttonbuck. No one person can affect how the school available in the district where they live performs. I would gladly let some kids into a school in my good district now rather then get robbed or worse by the adults from a bad one later. How can anyone not put themselves in this mother's shoes and say they wouldn't want a better chance for there kids. If you can, I don't believe you have children.

    January 28, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dan

    Share this w michele. This is why the papers would be a good idea.

    January 29, 2011 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
  7. herman

    From what I have read and seem there a large number of people that’s upset concerning the sentencing of Ms Kelly Williams Bolar, Why not send a email letting the judge know how you feel, Below I have listed the email address of her office
    Kelly Williams-Bolar broke the law however the punishment does not fit the crime,
    She did not attempt to rob a local supermarket, She is someone is trying to better her life as well as her children’s life, She sent her children to a different school district in order to obtain a quality education, If you are upset at her sentencing do something about it send an email to, Judge Patricia Cosgrove, staff and make them aware of how you feel concerning the unjust sentencing.;;;;
    Remember the pen is mightier than the sword

    Judicial Attorney, Kandi O'Connor

    Judicial Assistant, Tamara Keefer

    January 29, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |

    If segragation is supposed to be over why do the States still have the right to seperate kids according to school "districts"? The U.S. board of Ed should create a federal policy in which children can go to any school as long as there is room for them. Follow me @hiphoppatriots

    January 29, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daddy03

      So how would you decide.
      1. people who live in the district
      2. people who have families who live in the district
      3. others.

      February 11, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • That is No Solution

      Each town supports schools as they see fit. If some areas spend a higher pecentage of taxes on schools, it is their option. If the feds take over schools (1) who will pay for it (the country is a bit strapped), and (2) smart towns will still tax to afford more than the minimum basics of the federal system, becuase they will want better than the "average" education. The better solution is to lean new teaching methods like those explored at the Philly Microsoft designed school, and make all of our schools better.

      February 18, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. I hate the devil

    yea I get you white ppl dont want black ppl in your schools near your lily white kids and what not, but wow you just get more evil the longer you exist you are insufferable and yes the world is watching and guess what it's more than black and white ppl in the world.
    So Im gonna vote yes to making America a history lesson for when it use to exist with the most evil racist ppl in the world (USE TO EXIST)

    January 29, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ron Paul2012

    A mother who breaks the law is not a good mother. The Government set up the system. Blame the Government. Lets go school vouchers. We are almost there, many schools are running now as charters and home schooling the best for students. According to Ron Paul it cost $700 to home school a child. While it cost the government 30k. Let's get down to the politics of public schools also, the unions the administrative cost. The real problems of administrative cost; cell phones, cost of living expenses, gas, car, paid federal holiday, triple time, pension, health care, vision, dental. Do the unions take cuts no, but teachers are laid off, hired again for the scare tactic. Enough already. Were did the lotteries money go too, pensions of unions is where. It's time to cut free from the Government.

    January 30, 2011 at 2:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt F

      I think you need to wake up and come into reality.

      January 30, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Steve from Somerset

    When parents secretly and ILLEGALLY send their children into neighboring school districts, the schools that are deceived into accepting these students are forced to hire additional teachers, purchase additional textbooks, and buy additional supplies.

    Communities may vote to pay higher taxes then other districts to support such programs as student athletics, band, and field trips. Why should outsiders be permitted to steal these services?

    January 30, 2011 at 3:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. A Mother

    It is really a sad time we live in. The jury that convicted this lady, and fools who spent $30,000 on this investigation should be jailed.

    January 30, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Molly Brown

    As a taxpayer, I have two problems with this story. First, where is the father who sired the children of Kelley Williams-Boar? Is it Mr. Boar I assume? He has a responsibility to provide for his children. Otherwise, they would not be residing in Section 8 housing paid by me and other taxpayers. Secondly, if Kelley had left section 8 housing and lived full-time with her father, there would be no prosecution of fraud. She willfully signed papers listing her father's address as the permanent one. And she maintained her autonomy, self-interest by remaining in her section 8 apartment. I feel empathy for her children. But I feel none for Kelley because she tried to game the system and was caught doing so. The school district is making her an example to deter other illegal residents. Allowing this to happen unpunished would only encourage more people to take advantage of a good school system paid for by the taxes of wealthy property owners. Why should their children have to endure overcrowded conditions? Kelley should have thought carefully before bringing children into the world without financial support.

    January 31, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sydney

      You can justify a felony charge for sending your children to a school out of your district??? Get real! A felony charge for something that minor is absurd.What does the father have to do with anything? Perhaps he's dead. Remember, those stones could very well break your pristine glass house.

      February 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kaysa Hendricks

    This is a perfect example of how drastic the needs of equal education are. We, America, should send equal amounts of money to all school districts. America as a whole would win in a better educated society.

    January 31, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. labellevedette

    That might sound stupid but here we go - if she was jailed for putting her kids in a better school distrcit suburban Copley Township. It sound to me what they are saying is that money makes a better school, not the teachers. Therefore, she should turn around and sue her school disctrict, she is after all paying taxes, so why is it that her district is not a good as suburban Copley Township.

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