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. peggy

    God Bless America

    The greatest country on earth

    Land of the free

    .Only in America!

    September 2, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Larry

    So, what are we doing about all of the illegal immigrants who enroll their children – who quite often are illegal immigrants themselves – in our public schools? I would much rather see this woman's children attend any school before I would like to see any illegal immigrant ALLOWED to put their children in our schools.

    This is disgraceful.

    September 2, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. the prophet

    The cause is looking for followers wo has the balls sign on theprophet.com

    September 2, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Meat Puppet

    To Ric thank you for validating my position most public schools are at best a refuge for those collecting working welfare – 90% of the teachers in the public school system are marginally competent and that is a stretch
    Have you ever talked to a recent graduate of an inner city high school – they are functionally illiterate
    ask them to make change for a dollar – or ask them how the federal or state governments work ??

    September 2, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mcihelle

    Really? What a waste of tax dollars not to mention the rapists, murderers, child molesters, robbers who get off or whatever! As a single parent I understand her feelings! Its not safe anywhere it seems anymore! I watched the news today and it was so depressing! I think this so insane! Anyone who says she deserves this has never been in the situation!

    September 2, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Afanculo11

    great mother....teaching her children how to cheat and fraud the system so they could have a better future....there's an honest way of doing things in this world and when you do things honestly, you'l never have to watch your back and worry about the payback! Irresponsible is she!

    September 2, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • justinConvo

      Just another hate monger poppin off at the mouth. It’s a free school. The mother was trying hard to make sure her kids would not be like the ones people take about. She did not rob, kill, est., but they putting her in cuff and now has a felony record?? God I love America!

      September 2, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Crazy U.S.

    The Taliban is "tamed" compared to what America is becoming. Read this and scratch your head in wonder: "Mother gets kicked out of library for "cooing" "laughing" baby and could face year in jail.
    link:
    http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/library-patron-terrified-at-1155899.html

    September 2, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. pimpson

    She shouldn't be punished for this, that's ridiculous.

    September 2, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. GaJanie

    What she did was not right, but its also not right that single mothers have such a difficult time trying to find ways for their children to be safe and to get a good education. What she did deserves a slap on the wrist at most.

    September 2, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dan

    draconian justice...

    September 2, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jenny oh

    What a bunch of BS! Frankly I will always call my parents house my home and I'm guessing most people do the same. What is the big deal about it? I'm guessing there was some racial motivation.

    September 2, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. humannature7

    This is ridiculous! Of all the crimes, they waste time and money on this?

    September 2, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Justlew

    I think we are really starting to move backwards....come on Obama do something change this nonsense : )

    September 2, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. WOT

    You People are so mean but there is a word for you to! A mother always wants the best for their children! Most of the whites do not want their children, in mixed race schools! Look at the world people! God help that Board!

    September 2, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • ellis from uranus

      @ WOT, IDIOT!

      Dont speak of which you know nothing about, I am a white father of 3 and all my children go to public schools. If your a white person then dont speak for the whole race, just stay in your little corner and keep trolling 😉

      September 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Olivia

    "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." Who are they to suggest she leaves her kids with neighbors? She was doing what she thought was best and safe for her children. Neighbors?? Really? Leaving your kids alone with people you hardly know is when terrible things begin to happen. Arrest the real criminals. She was in school and trying to keep her daughters in a good school, when sis that become a crime?

    September 2, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
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