Ohio mom who put kids in wrong school was 'deceitful,' parole board says
Kelley Williams-Bolar served nine days in January for her conviction on two counts of falsifying records.
September 2nd, 2011
08:17 PM ET

Ohio mom who put kids in wrong school was 'deceitful,' parole board says

The Ohio Parole Board unanimously recommended against clemency for a mother who lied about her residency so her children could attend school tuition-free in another district.

Kelley Williams-Bolar admitted in a July hearing that she was wrong to enroll her two daughters in the Copley-Fairlawn school district from under her father's address while she lived in subsidized housing in Akron. She claimed she did so because she did not want to leave her daughters home alone after school while she was attending classes at The University of Akron, fearing for their safety after a 2006 burglary.

The eight-panel board concluded that she could have investigated other options, such as looking at other districts, asking friends or neighbors to babysit, or actually moving into her parents' home. Instead, she chose "a pattern of deceitful behavior," the Board wrote in its clemency report, released Friday.

"Ms. Williams-Bolar was faced with a no more difficult situation than any other working parent who must ensure that their children are safe during, before and after school hours in their absence," it said in its ruling. "Most parents find legitimate and legal options to address this issue. Ms. Williams-Bolar's only response was to be deceitful."

The recommendation goes on to Gov. John Kasich, who expressed sympathy for Williams-Bolar earlier this year after her sentencing.

"Although we are disappointed with the Parole Board's recommendation, we remain confident that justice will ultimately prevail," Williams-Bolar's lawyer, David Singleton, said. "The Governor, not the Parole Board, has the last word on Kelley's clemency petition."

A Summit County jury convicted Williams-Bolar in January of two felony counts of tampering with records. She was sentenced to a five-year suspended sentence and two years of community supervision.

The case drew nationwide attention nationwide, raising debate about equal access to quality education and allegations of selective prosecution.

Opinion: Mom jailed for sending kids to school wanted a choice

But Williams-Bolar had no complaints about the education her children were receiving in the Akron City School District, the Board wrote in its decision, citing arguments from Williams-Bolar's attorneys.

"This was not a case about race or civil rights and Ms. Williams-Bolar has never made this claim," according to the clemency report. "This is a case where Ms. Williams-Bolar was worried about the safety of her daughters, and has been severely punished, and the collateral consequences will be devastating for her future."

Williams-Bolar wrote in her application for clemency that the felony convictions would prevent her from obtaining a license in teaching or social work, which she has been working toward on and off since 1988.

She told the Board she was not sure when she would go back to college, and ultimately acknowledged that she has to raise her GPA before can gain entry into a school of education, according to the clemency report.

She has been able to keep her position with the Akron Public Schools as a teacher's assistant, but her attorney stated that her employment is contingent upon the outcome of her appeals and the clemency decision, according to the report. She also has been able to maintain her residence with the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority.

Prosecutors claimed that Williams-Bolar had plenty of time and opportunity to end her deceptions before she was indicted in October 2009 trial. Instead, she continued to "fight and build on her deceptions," the Board wrote.

Williams-Bolar told the Board that while she continues to reside at the Hartford Avenue address in Akron, she used her father’s address when she renewed her driver’s license a few weeks before the July clemency hearing.

"She does not seem to understand nor accept the fact that the Black Pond address is not her legal residence, when she has resided and continues to reside at the Hartford Avenue address," the Board wrote.

Gov. Kasich does not have to follow the Board's recommendation. Days after taking office, he launched an inquiry into the case and asked the parole board to review it.

"Karen and I work hard to make a better future for our girls so when I first heard about Ms. Kelley Williams-Bolar’s case last week it really struck me, as it has many other people," he said in February, according to the Beacon Journal.

"Our laws exist for a reason and they must be enforced, but the idea that a woman would become a convicted felon for wanting a better future for her children is something that has rightly raised a lot of concern with people, including me."

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Filed under: Crime • Education • Ohio
soundoff (382 Responses)
  1. Canadian

    She was wrong, but I'm proud of her for doing the best she could for her children. She's a good mother.

    September 3, 2011 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. clarenceG

    And Casey anthony killed her kid, and is walking free... Beautiful world we live in.

    September 3, 2011 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Jessy

      You are right, Casey anthony killed her kid, and is walking free. Who committed the worse crime? There is no fairness in this US legal system at all!!!

      September 3, 2011 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. DoNotWorry

    American mom gets felony for being in the wrong school district... illegal alien mom gets $200k judgment for being handcuffed while having baby in wrong country. Time for a new government.

    September 3, 2011 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. eddy

    m glad my mom didnt go to jail for doing the same thing when i went to hig school in Ohio this whole case is BS

    September 3, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. fearlessdude

    Ohio. Hmm. Wasn't that the state with election contorversy that gave G W a second term?
    What is the difficulty? Her father lives in that district and the kids can stay there after school.
    Handcuffs? This is really amazing. She must have used an AK47.
    The time and money wasted on this case could have payed for the kids college education.
    People, get a life.

    September 3, 2011 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. cindy lou

    Too bad this lady isn't an illegal and live in California! Today our stupid legislature voted in the DREAM ACT, this gives tax payer government grants to ILLEGAL immigrants to attend UC and Cal State Universities. This is the problem with our country, we don't provide for AMERICAN BORN children, yet we will take trash from other countries and give them free medical, food stamps, welfare, and now a FREE COLLEGE TUITION! Sorry to this Ohio lady and her children!

    September 3, 2011 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Mighty7

      That's right. After all, it's no like illegals pay state taxes when they buy gasoline, food, clothing...

      September 3, 2011 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jennifer

    Isnt it grand, punishing someone for wanting the best for their kids, she should have moved to the south you can get away with killing them down there at least

    September 3, 2011 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
  8. PhaReal

    Just another reason for that white community to put an innocent black women in jail. I hate to say it or bring up race but this is ridiculous

    September 3, 2011 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Brain

      Innocent is not the word I would use, but a felony is ridiculous. I agree with the poster who said a fine should have been enough and correcting her information.

      September 3, 2011 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. k thomp

    im in san antonio, tx im sure that here and other parts of texas there are people receiving good educations at the better schools who are not citizens. and im sure theyre using some family member address. what is the problem with this country, you want immigrants out or at least stop receiving benefits that should go to americans so she lied about where she lived so what. dis-enroll the kids.maybe ohio would rather have immigrants in their schools, getting public housing etc. down here its easier for immigrants to get housing, food stamps, etc than a person like myself a disabled vet. what a f up country nobody has any loyalty.

    September 3, 2011 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
  10. PhaReal

    the Board is full of uneducated idiots who look like pure racist. cmon go to jail for protecting your kids! i would sue there azzs in fed court!!

    September 3, 2011 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  11. kt

    We have lots of freeloading moochers out there sucking off of the rest of us like her. With people like her there is no even playing field for the rest of us. I sacrificed for my kids when we needed help but I did it myself and went days without eating just to provide for them and not cheat the system. No pain no gain. Lets get more like her and make them pay like the rest of us. If you know some one that is mooching for public assistance yet have income they should be turned in. She is setting and example for her own kids that it's ok to cheat.

    September 3, 2011 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. NoodleHat

    Cats poop in boxes.

    September 3, 2011 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
    • rammer

      Some poop in toilets.

      September 3, 2011 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
  13. jesse

    Please, if the state and city had been manageing districs correctly to actually meet the population needs of areas this wouldn't be a problem at all. They're just rats and lazy liars because they just don't want "them" mixing with their "nice" kids. By "them" I mean people from lower income families and by "nice" I mean their spoiled brat "rich kids."

    September 3, 2011 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
  14. Yvonne

    Shame, shame, shame on the local government that prosecuted this as a feloney.
    There should have been a fine and a cease and desist order-enough said.

    Those who prosecuted her (and those who convicted) should be prosecuted. This is a shame against humanity and a gross abuse of authority.

    What's wrong with Ohio-people there should be shouting for those local officials to be removed from office. Some one needs to lead this campaign.

    September 3, 2011 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  15. Deceitful

    I bet she was also deceitful about being on birth control to the man whom she was copulating with.

    And shame on you feminists who cry foul over this. This is FRAUD. Had it been a father doing the same thing, I bet you gender fascists would have said 'he deserved it'. It is time women understand that action brings consequences.

    September 3, 2011 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      A Felon...are you kidding me? Get a fine, but a Felon! You are out of your mind. As my political science professor, and judge, once stated...when all reasoning fails, let common sense prevail. I bet you missed that class in college...yah right you went.

      September 3, 2011 at 2:55 am | Report abuse |
    • That One Person

      As if we don't have enough murderers, gang members and other type out there that they have to be so busy with a mom who actually managed to make sure her children were going to school while she was homeless.

      I want to point out that she would have gotten nailed for not putting them in school for truancy of minor as well and well heck that would still be her fault to.

      September 3, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dubya

      You're a sick little puppy. Hope you've been neutered.

      September 4, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
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