Mother who put kids in wrong school released from jail early
Ohio mother Kelley Williams-Bolar is led off to jail after her conviction last week.
January 27th, 2011
11:06 AM ET

Mother who put kids in wrong school released from jail early

An Ohio woman who was jailed for tampering with records to get her children into a better school district has been released from jail a day early, according to a local newspaper.

Kelley Williams-Bolar left the Summit County Jail on Wednesday, having served nine days of her 10-day sentence, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

Williams-Bolar, a single mother living in subsidized housing in Akron, used her father's address to register her two daughters in the high-achieving suburban Copley-Fairlawn school district.

Copley-Fairlawn said the improper registration cost it $30,000 in lost tuition and $6,000 in investigative costs.

The case has drawn national media attention and outrage, much of it due to its racial undertones: Williams-Bolar is black, while the Copley-Fairlawn schools are predominantly white.

A Google search for Williams-Bolar's name turns up 131,000 results.

Williams-Bolar told CNN affiliate WEWS-TV in Cleveland that she plans to appeal her conviction. The local chapter of the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network is trying to raise money to fund the appeal, the Beacon Journal reported.

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Filed under: Crime • Education • Justice • Ohio • Race • U.S.
soundoff (855 Responses)
  1. Nate

    For all of you that think this woman could not get out of where she lived and make a better life for her kids you are very wrong. I spent 6 years defending this country and when I got out there were no jobs in my field. I made due by working construction for minimal pay. Lived in a bad part of town and was robbed more than 6 times in one year. I then went into extreme debt by putting myself and my wife through college and now we live in a quiet nice part of town with no crime and the best schools. Anyone can do it, you just have to want it bad enough and put in the work, which most of you that are defending this woman are not willing to do. Get off the system that I pay for, go to school, and get a good paying job. Thats how most of us got to where we are. By the way I am now a Mechanical Engineer with no credit card bills and very little house payment. HARD WORK PAYS OFF!!!!!

    January 27, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Don't generalize. I worked my way up out of being white trash despite having horrible parents. I have a good job, a college degree, a nice house and a paid off rental.

      I fully support this mom.

      January 27, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • R DANGER

      People should not have to go through all that crap too live in a decent area and have their kids go too a decent schools and if you think you have too be robbed 6 times and live in proverty for years too have a good life years from now then you are a idiot.

      January 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. steve

    $30,000 in lost tuition??? I thought education was supposed to be free. Isn't that what property taxes are for?

    January 27, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. misty

    you have got to be kidding me. you put a mother in jail for having her kids in the wrong school? your a bunch of ignorant idiots. bravo to you for wasting our money once again on stupidity. there was no reason for this at all. the superintendant should have removed the kids from the school and made sure they did not attend again unless they were living in that particular school zone. its not that hard to do. i cant believe people think its ok to put someone in jail over something as stupid as kids going to the wrong school. seriously has crime gotten that low that you can waste time on idiotic things like this? as far as the superintendant saying she should have moved so the kids could go there wow really why dont you pay her bills and her rent and help her move if you think its that easy to come up with all the money it takes to move. all of you would not think what happened is ok if it was you being put in jail so stop acting lerfect.. i say you go momma you do what you gotta do for your babies.......

    January 27, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Thats Just Wrong !

    Why did these 2 girls stand out from the crowd? (can I say black, yes I said it ! ) Did this school conduct an 6000 dollar investigation on every student, NO ! And why not. Can I say (White, yes I said it ! ) sad but true.

    January 27, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Elizabeth

    Long ago, my mother did the same thing and I am forever grateful to her. We were in bad part of town with terrible schools. She worked full-time during the days at a factory where people routinely lost fingers and full-time at night in a bar to keep things together after my father left. She wanted the future for us that she could not afford, no matter how much effort she put into life. She used my aunt's address and studied with us every moment she could until she was able to get us into magnet "gifted" schools. She loved us and wanted more for us. Thanks to that solid education, I'm now earning a six-digit salary doing what I love and taking care of her and giving generously to others. I *want* my taxes to give a brighter future to ALL...not just those who happen to be able to have the wealth. I understand that the world can be a better place for EVERYONE and that someone else's child doing well does not have to take away from my child doing well.

    January 27, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Amy

    She could have avoided the whole thing by living with her Dad. The kids would be legally enrolled in the school and someone else could have used her public assitance to live in an area where she doesn't even want to live. Not that living with her Dad would be a grown woman's first choice, but it would have been honest and practical.

    January 27, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. WhatAJoke

    Republicans are fighting for school vouchers that would allow lower income families to send their children to better schools but the DEMOCRATS are fighting against it! It sounds like the Democrats in power like to keep people in their 'place'.

    January 27, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      The argument is not as black and white as you make it out to be. Read up on it.

      January 27, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nate

      Don't like it? Run for office. Who cares. ALL politicians are more currupt than this lady will ever be.

      January 27, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Not important

    She is a classless piece of trash. Her children do not belong in that school. END.OF.STORY.
    Look what values she's teaching them, to LIE and commit fraud!!!

    January 27, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • AverageJoe76

      Or maybe she's teaching them what America is teaching them, "survival of the richest". Oh, and if you want to be based in morals, then most people in America are guilty of one crime or another. Think not? Look to your left and to your right, somone you know (including yourself) has committed a crime in America.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Not important

    Google price lab trial cedar falls iowa
    there are several families in our area just found guilty of doing the same thing.. WHITE families.

    January 27, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pat

    During the story I heard the anchor ask more than once "what kind of message does this send to the kids?" How about, don't lie, don't cheat and expect everyone else to look the other way!
    The comment was made several times that "she was just trying to get her kids into a better school. So is cheating on tests to get better grades to get to a better school OK also?
    The mother was given options of other ways to handle this situation. The option she chose had consequences. There is a reason for rules. Do you want 200 people trying this next year? 1000 the next? Then we can complain about the cost of education due to the constant litigation.....

    January 27, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • SB

      sooo true!!! wish more people could see it this way –

      January 27, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • AverageJoe76

      The problem is that education should not be sub-standard due to area. Period. You can argue about what rules she broke, but jailing her for this is dumb and used more tax dollars. And i hear this "Oh, if she wanted a better esducation for her kids, then she should move the neighborhood and pay the taxes". Because life is always that easy. She took a chance and AT LEAST the reason was a nobel one. NOT to steal taxpayer money as some put it, but to ensure her kids had a better chance when obviously the city couldn't. open your eyes and come down from your high horse. Try to empathize with your fellow humans.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sam

    Her father was already paying taxes in that district!!! It saddens me that many Americans pretend that racism is long gone. It is alive and well!!! Jail time for wanting her children to have a better education???? I would do it in a heartbeat!!!!!

    January 27, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      What is really funny is that the kids probably had to live with her father while their mother was in jail!!!

      January 27, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justmessin

      Exactly! If she is a single mom studying to be a teacher, her father probably help care for those children and they probably DO reside with him a lot. My children have their own bedrooms at my parents house and they consider it their home too. How could a school district decide how a family's residences should be. Ridiculous.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Natattack

      My parents did it when I was in junior high. The way our district was zoned, I was bused almost 40 minutes away from my home to another town across the river in sixth grade and my mother decided that she wasn't going to have it for two more years. Come seventh grade, she used my aunt's address to enroll me at the junior high ten minutes away from our home. In eighth grade, they rezoned the districts and we didn't have to lie anymore.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • What?

      Do some research there's more to this story than meets the eye. The dad wasn't being above-board, either.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Getsmine

      It's not racism or the school district deciding residency. You determien where your residency is. She falsified her residency in order to both keep her publicly subsidized housing and get her kids into good schools. Nothing like fleecing the public from both ends. Why wouldn't all Americans want to keep supporting every family like this.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • K

      Of course you'd do it in a heart beat, because you're just another thief who think they can justify ANYTHING by saying they're doing it for their kids. The woman broke the law. She should be punished, or the law should be changed, but selective enforcement of prosecuting only the people YOU think should be prosecuted is usually called tyranny. When you steal from me to feed your kids, you're taking food out of the mouths of my kids.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      This is not racism, just prejudice.
      Racism = Not allowing black kids in good schools
      Prejudice = Spending $6000 to investigate black kids

      Being a minority nowadays is like shopping in a mall wearing an orange jumpsuit. You'll be fine if you don't steal, but remember someone's always watching.

      I'm not white either. I'll give you a hint... I'm very careful in airports.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • leslie

      i get that her dad was paying taxes in the district but what about the fact that she was living in gov't housing ? if she really wanted better for her kids maybe she should have moved to the same area or stayed with her dad and gave up the govt housing, you can't have it all

      January 27, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charlotte K.

      @ K

      What was stolen? The dad pays taxes.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barrett

      Hooray for jailing people who give a crap about their kids. I'd cheat the system if it was in the best interest of my children

      January 27, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • DocLowery

      Getsemine, get over it. That was the most inhumane thing that could be done to mother who wants better for her children, not people like that. I sure hope that, if you have any children, you won't wake up to their best education and they put a bullet in your head just be cause. OH I FORGOT HE/SHE WAS JUST BI-POLAR THAT'S WHY THEY KILLED THEIR MOTHER/FATHER! It's people like you give breed hate, child molesters and murders....

      January 27, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat in IL

      Agree. it sounds like the investigation and sentence were over the top. I know some white kids whose parents did the same thing, for various reasons. One of those was lack of affordable housing in the preferred school district. Another was "so my kid can graduate from the same school I graduated from". Was she investigated because the kids were black? Probably.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • getoverit

      If she wanted better education for her kids, what about she helped them learn and study at home after their regular schooling? oh wait thats what the government is there for so that parents like her can take the kids to a day care I mean school and not give a crap about them.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim P

      She did what was right for her children and went to jail, welcom to the new America.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gadsden

      And you would go to jail too. The reason some school districts are better than others is because some parents work harder, buy more expensive houses and invest more in their children than others. If this woman would like her children to attend those schools then she should follow that path rather than lying to steal that which she has not earned.

      January 27, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      It bothers me that people place the race card to justify their illegal behavior. This woman had no right to lie to get her kids into a school out of her district. This has nothing to do with race. Stick to the facts. The school should bill her for the lost tuition.

      January 27, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seraphim0

      The comments from some of you people are utterly amazing. The woman broke the law. Plain and simple. She was 'stealing' as some of you put it, from the people who actually pay taxes in that district. If her father paid there, hey, good for him. She did not. She was living off of government subsidised housing (which you are payig for) and then sending her kids to a school that others pay for- not her. Of course, that -can't- be stealing,right? She had good intentions? Then she should have done right by her kids and just moved there so they could go to school. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I'm sympathetic to her wanting what's best for her kids... but not for her breaking the law.

      January 27, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seraphim0

      Lowery- your post is ridiculous and pointless. What does ANYTHING you had to say have to do with what was said? because G. believes in the law and how it works, suddenly they promote child molestation and other crimes? I think you forgot your meds.

      January 27, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sagebrush Shorty

      Now that Sharpton is involved, we know that racism is not dead since his specialty is stirring the bias [pot.

      January 27, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Todd A

      You're right racism isn't gone. Apparently this woman doesn't like black people. I mean why else would she not want her child going to school with them?

      Seriously though, your argument about her dad paying taxes there doesn't matter. She didn't live there. Case closed.

      January 27, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • tiredodacrap

      Yes, Sam. Do it! Teach more young, black children that the rules and laws of the land do not apply to them! Teach them that instead of bettering yourself for your children (in this case, moving to a better location), just "bend" the rules and cry "racism". No wonder race relations are getting nowhere!

      January 27, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • coffegirl

      Does anyone wonder why this is against the law? Why are some schools open districts yet some are not? The law is in effect to keep out the riff raff. The lower income schools have the open door policy so they can gain students and more Federal funding. If this isn't enough to prove there are racial tendencies surrounding in this story, I don't know what is. Side note, a parent that doesn't care about their kids isn't going to drive a mile out of their way to send them to a better school.

      January 28, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. MariaLee

    II understand about the theif of monies in lieu of taxes and lying about her residency. What I don't quite understand is how an American citizen can be put into jail for attending an american school , but not and illegal alien. For them you can't ask any questions on citizenship or residency. So, questions are not asked, investigations are not done about residency in the district or the country...but they are allowed to stay and given all the privileges of a citizen. It boggles the mind that this woman was put in jail.

    January 27, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • FireWife

      Amen to this post.

      January 27, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seb

      Actually, apart from the fact that the Supreme Court has said you can't kick children of illegals out of school, and for a very good reason, illegals have almost no rights.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard E. Davis

      Bravo. I want to send this woman a check to help defray her legal costs. She's a tiger Mom who wanted the best for her kids...and she goes to jail? This is insane.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • lftryagain

      MariaLee, you are absolutely right. Also, if Obama grants Amnesty to the 12 million illegals it will hurt the poor blacks, whites, and hispanic citizens in this country. Our tax dollars going to pay for education for be for our citizens. SEB, illegals have almost no rights because they are here illegally! HELLO! They shouldn't have ANY RIGHTS EXCEPT to be treated humanely when they are deported.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gadsden

      She was mooching off government housing, but then wanted the schools that people who work hard and buy expensive homes attend. You can't mooch the free housing AND the best schools. It is not the government's (taxpayers) job to subsidize her bad decisions.

      January 27, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • mamabear

      My white neighbor in predominately white neighborhood in Southern California LIED every year to get her kids into the district near us becuase it had "better" schools. I was appalled that no one ever even checked where she lived... Guess if you're white you can do what you please. (I'm white and have seen it over and over.... ) But then, that neighbor lied about everything to everybody so maybe it would have been hard to prove anything – great role model for her kids.....

      January 27, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. pat

    If kids our this countries # 1 asset then why do rely on states to educate our kids, many if not all states are failing. So we make educating our kids a federal duty, every teacher must meet same requirments to obtain and keep job, Every public school gets same amount of $$$. Why punish kids who's parents are laid off or did not get a college degree. Those kids need help too, who knows one of those kids may find the answer to cancer or other illinesses. We are a county of 1 there should be no walls or stero types. Equality for every kid is the only way we can stay at top. Plus disban all teacher unions, if you don't cut it in the classroom then see you we will find someone who can. Equal pay for all teachers so no matter if your in NYC low income distric or in a distric with million dollar homes you make the same. We need to spreat our our best teachers, if kids don't want to attend school then teach them a trade so they can earn a living. Tke care of ourselves and we ourselves will perval

    January 27, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Getsmine

      If I'm going to pay for every kid in this country I want a say in whether these parents are allowed to have kids. If it's their god given right to have 10 kids it shouldn't be my god given obligation to pay for them all.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • JayZ

      FYI – You just described China.

      Good luck trying to send a poor ghetto kid to the same school as a affluent rich kid. Welcome to America, the land of "Do it yourself cause Im not doing it for you."

      Look out for you and your own, or move over.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Katrina

      This is just dumb. Equal pay for all school districts? That would seriously hurt low income schools. Teachers prefer the well behaved students and involved parents in the "good" districts. The incentives to work in inner city and rural schools are crazy. Forgiveness on student loans, flexibility on requirements, salary buffs. Teaching is just like any other industry in America, its supply and demand. The problem for the less desirable schools isn't so much the salary as all the other crap that comes with it. Do you think there would be any teachers in NYC if they got paid the same amount as the teacher out in the sticks? No one could live in the city at that salary, and I sure am not going to commute through that nonsense and bend over backwards where I don't feel appreciated. Its common sense. Disbanding teacher unions is also an ignorant solution. Sure unions cause issues, but they are there for a reason. Teachers are one of the worst treated employees. Many schools lose their budget and fire large number of teachers every spring, planning to rehire what they can afford in the fall. They get 20 minutes for lunch that they have to share with 30 screaming kids. They have very little flexibility on their vacation or even sick days. They get paid poorly for a job that requires a college degree. If I had to put up with those conditions in my job I would be outraged. Let’s focus on fixing the problem that caused the unions to form rather than just scream about how everything is all their fault.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Getsmine

      Exactly my point. If you agree with that please send me a check for $6000 because of your obligation to support my child.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aloisae

      Just wanted to point out that, at least in Ohio where this happened and which revised its school funding calculations around the turn of the century, that is largely the case in terms of the poorer districts with the result being that the more affluent districts are expected to pay most of their own way plus pay for the bulk of the poorer districts AND the more affluent districts end up will less money available for their students than the poorer districts have as a result.

      The district this woman lied to NOT send her kids to (Akron) spends significantly more per student (approximately $4,000 per student more) than the district this woman lied to send her kids to (Copley) has available to them. Copley's school district is funded 75% by local taxes. Akron is only funded 37% by local taxes... the rest is paid for out of general state funds and federal money.

      The budgets, btw, including the calculations that end up with the general tax revenue of the state and federal contributions picking up the bulk of Akron's costs, are all available to the public online via the Ohio department of education website.

      January 27, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. getoverit

    So their choices were be accused of racist or let her get away with it to not be accused of racism. Get over it people, she did something she was not supposed to and her race has nothing to do with it. FYI I'm not white

    January 27, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anothermuse

      Their choice was to place the kids in the correct district and move on..Jail for getting someone a better education? Look, everyone will drop the race accusations if you can produce the white mom who went to jail for the same thing

      January 27, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      Your not white, and some inner city school are just warehouses, She saw a chance to give her kids a better chance. Obviously she believes in education, She spent ten days in Jail. What really bothers me is how the Government of that town could let that happen. Its sad but it just shows us that being poor is actually good bussines for some. Probation maybe, but jail tho. that sends a civil rights message, we must still fight on.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justmessin

      I don't know if this is a racial thing or not. But the district is trying to define family and residences. Many people have unconventional families. Kids have multiple homes and parents. It sounds like the grandfather plays the father figure in these children lives. He lives and pay taxes in that district. Why shouldn't they be able to attend?

      January 27, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • getoverit

      So when was the last time you saw a white person pulling the racist card because they got charged for something that a black person hasn't been charged with? like my name says, get over it, its been many years since slavery, for gods sake we even have a black president.
      Before accusing someone of racism = they probably were racist, nowadays = get out of jail and trouble free card and that is ridiculous

      January 27, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skegee

      It wasn't so much that she was innocent, but putting her in JAIL? The sentence was too hard. Just let her pay a fine or something.

      January 27, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Melissa

    I don't agree with putting her in jail but I do agree that she should have to pay the money. I moved from a school district because I did not think it was good enough for my kids. I moved to a different district so my kids would get the best education possible. If she wanted her kids to go to Copley all she had to do was move. I have family members that are doing this right now and I don't agree at all. I do think there should be consequences but not jail.

    January 27, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      FYI – this is not a racial thing. I live in the district next to Copley and there are plently of whites and blacks.

      January 27, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • pplgetagrip

      How was she suppose to just pick up and move? The article clearly states that she lived in subsides housing which tells me that she can't just up and move. This woman wanted a better education for her kids so she put them in a district where her father pays taxes. I think the governement should give more money better resources to the districts with low income people after all they are the ones that needed it the most. I think it is about race, but at the very least it is about rich vs. poor.

      January 27, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • JB

      If it is not a racial thing, then who are the white parents that went to jail for this too? I am sure this woman was not the first to do this, I remember it happening all of the time when I was in high school. I lived in a middle class, mostly white neighborhood that was bussed to a school with a lot of crime, even though there was a much closer high school. Several of my neighbors went to the closer high school even though it was not our district. This also goes on ALL of the time for sports, why aren't those parents and even coaches whose addresses they use being sent to jail?

      January 27, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
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