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. John

    A Felon! When will common sense prevail? A Felon! Casey Anthony is laughing right now.

    September 3, 2011 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Tania Enderson

      well said!!!

      September 3, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Justen beiber

    Why is this even in the news?

    September 3, 2011 at 3:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Dubya

      Why do even bother to post?

      September 4, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. k thomp

    deceitful how can it be. all bs asside, there's someone somewhere in every city that is using a relative or friend address so their kid can go to a better school. is it not deceitful that immigrant cross into el paso Texas and go to our schools. and does anyone know how many have gone to college gotten a degree from financial aide. but its ok for mexico to call america racist for trying to enforce its border laws and immigration. so who is deceitful.

    September 3, 2011 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. Felony

    A felony is anything over a couple of hundred dollars. Show me the man who isn't a felon and I will show you a man who just hasn't got caught yet.

    September 3, 2011 at 6:33 am | Report abuse |
  5. indignant

    the crows in this school district need their heads checked.

    September 3, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. christe

    i think the authority are just trying to do the right thing, also, i really do pity the lady but she went against the law.

    September 3, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Felony

    You are a felon if convicted of a crime anounting to just a couple of hundred dollars worth od loss/damages. Sho me the man who has never been convicted of a felony, and I will show you a man who has never been caught.

    September 3, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Captive Audience

    The real crime here is that there are vast differences between the quality of education a child receives based on the neighborhood they live in. Those that work hard and get good grades will probably not share in the American Dream. They will be used as tools to secure next year's NCLB funding and in return they're education will consist of memorization drills without much substance.

    September 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Doug

    The poor lady just wanted the best for her kids, and she was attending college so she left them with her parents. Let her off with a fine. Cruelty dealt out to people like this will only cause the same for themselves one day.

    September 3, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tom w.

    It seems that our government is so eager to give illegal aliens a pass... Why is this even an issue? Its not like the school district loses money; they get paid from the state based on enrollment.

    We should be addressing the situation that made her feel that this was her only choice.

    September 3, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. leeintulsa

    Anyone think of the kids? Is it their fault their mother is an idiot? Now, thanks to uncle sam, she won't have to worry about having kids, and everything for her kids will be akin to whole new life?

    How do i get in on that racket? 😉

    I love my kids, but still...

    September 3, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. A mom

    The people saying she had other options have not been in the situation this lady and myself have been in. Have they ever had to go to work to pay the bills and had to leave their children home alone? It is a horrifying experience. Looking back I should have gone the welfare route and not punished my children by my silly pride and notion that people who cannot take care of their children should not have them. I never had a grandparent option that many people take for granted, but if I did I would certainly have gone her route to protect my children and do not think she is a felon.

    September 3, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. smith

    So she (a legal american citizen)is being decietfull and is judged a felon because she placed her kids in a schooldistrict she did not pay taxes in. However an illegal who was not born here and has no legal right to be here and does not pay property taxes here and has no social ties to the community can put their kid in that school without ANY legal backlash at all. This is the reason there is such resentment against the system and illegals too. We the people have no rights to the fruits of our labor, but some one who breaks our law being here in the first place gets the royal treatment. Were is the justice in this country? You steal milions or bilions on wall sreet and bring this country to its knees you will get a golden handshake and a bailout/bonus. You put your kids in a save school just not in the district they order you to go too you are considered a felon?

    September 3, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Justen beiber

    She broke mother trying to cheat the system. Should should be made a example if. I wonder if she will tell her kids to lie when they get older. She should have her kids taken away. Grow sOne balls and work 2 jobs or get a good one that pays good. My sister in law has a 4 and 1 year old. Works during week and in nursing school on weekends. She hates seeing less if the kids but she see the money in nursing field and will put in the time. She don't want her family struggling living in a apartment.

    September 3, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dubya

      You shouldn't drink and post, "Justen." Just sayin....

      September 4, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jim Davis

    I WAS going to spell it out for those of you who defend LAWBREAKERS, why we make Laws and agree in our Society to FOLLOW THEM. However, if, as an Adult, you don't have the BRAIN POWER to comprehend this BASIC concept..... What's the use in waisting my time. Meanwhile, the rest of us have already made the necessary sacrifices in order to RESPECT and FOLLOW the LAW. No THERE'S a novel idea...... Jezzzz.

    September 3, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • JP0

      I challenge you to follow the letter of every law on the books in your community. It can't be done. The laws are selectively enforced to go after those who are out of favor with the ruling class.

      September 4, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Super Mann

      It is spelled "wasting my time" NOT "waisting".............looks like you could have benefitted from a better education.

      September 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dubya

      Use your Spell Check, you illiterate glob.

      September 4, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
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