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Woman Sent to Jail for Wanting a Better Education for Her Kids

Posted by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 2:02 PM
  • 59 Replies

This is fucking maddening:

http://www.change.org/petitions/gov-john-kasich-pardon-kelley-williams-bolar----she-shouldnt-go-to-jail-for-protecting-her-kid

Kelley Williams-Bolar, a 40-year-old mother of two, was convicted of a felony last week and sent to jail for 10 days. Her crime? Falsifying records so her kids could attend a safer school in the district where her father lives.

Uh-oh! Sounds like two little girls were trying to get a free education off the back of hard-working tax payers, and if that’s not worth a felony charge, I don’t know what is. Williams-Bolar, according to the prosecution, lives in subsidized housing in Akron, Ohio, and not with her father in Copley Township—as she claimed on several official school forms when she enrolled her two daughters. The Copley schools are, it seems, better and safer than the schools in Akron. (They are also whiter. Williams-Bolar is black. But obviously race has nothing to do with this case!)

The school district grew suspicious enough about the Williams-Bolar kids to, apparently, hire a private detective, who filmed Williams-Bolar dropping her children off at a bus stop near her parents’ house. (This seems like a fantastic use of school district money.) Officials confronted her. The school district superintendent, Brian Poe, says that such cases (apparently there are something like 15-20 a year) are usually resolved without going to trial.

But apparently, this was impossible with Williams-Bolar. (Maybe she pointed out that the girls’ grandfather was paying taxes in the district, for Christ’s sake?) She and her father were charged with falsifying records—and grand theft, over the $30,500 in tuition the school claims she owed for her daughters. (The jury didn’t reach a unanimous decision on the grand theft charge.) According to the presiding judge, Patricia Cosgrove, who spoke with The Akron Beacon-Journal, “the state would not move, would not budge, and offer Ms. Williams-Bolar to plead to a misdemeanor,” despite several pretrial hearings.

Williams-Bolar, a teaching assistant, is working towards a teaching degree, but her felony conviction will likely derail that. Her daughters will be attending schools in Akron. And the Copley Township schools will no longer be host to 12- and 16-year-old frauds like the Williams-Bolar sisters.

What Williams-Bolar is accused of doing is illegal. But even if she faked her daughters’ address (she maintains that her daughters split their time between two homes), it’s unconscionable to send her to jail, tear her family apart and ruin her chance at a steady career just because she wanted to send her kids to a better school. The sheer cruelty of the verdict - and the judge’s own admission that Williams-Bolar is being punished to serve as an example for other parents - has created a tidal wave of online support. Sign the Change.org petition today.

In just eight hours, more than 1,000 have signed a Change.org member-created petition to reduce her sentence. Supporters have overtaken Twitter with the hashtag #savekellywilliamsbolar (sic), using http://bit.ly/williamsbolar to link to the petition.

It’s a sad truth that public schools in American vary widely in quality, safety and affluence. Kids in one zip code can get top-notch teachers and swanky classrooms while kids just a few miles away make do with cast-off books and rat-infested hallways. Your education can determine your future - and Williams-Bolar wanted her daughters to have a brighter one. She told the court that she’d been scared for her daughters’ safety at Akron schools, and that there was no intention at all to deceive school officials. But that wasn’t enough for Common Pleas Judge Patricia Cosgrove, who thought her behavior deserved a felony conviction.

A growing number of advocates and activists are speaking out about the racial and social ramifications of this case. Among them is Dr. Boyce Watkins of Syracuse University, a well-known professor and speaker who wrote about the Williams-Bolar case on his blog.

“This case is a textbook example of everything that remains racially wrong with America’s educational, economic and criminal justice systems,” he wrote. “There is no logical reason on earth why this mother of two should be dehumanized by going to jail and be left permanently marginalized from future economic and educational opportunities. Even if you believe in the laws that keep poor kids trapped in underperforming schools, the idea that this woman should be sent to jail for demanding educational access is simply ridiculous.”

REBLOG FOR MORE SIGNATURES PLEASE!

by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 2:02 PM
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Replies (1-10):
massteria
by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 2:06 PM

I stopped reading when they put in the article that the schools are mostly white while the mother is black and race obviously had nothing to do with it.  That right there makes the reporter and the paper that reported it complete idiots.  That is far from unbiased reporting and no paper or news venue at all should be pulling out the race card.

Fraud is a felony offense, plain and simple.  If she wanted her kids to go to a better school then she should have sent them to live with her father who was within the district.  I understand wanting better for your kids, but lying to make it happen is not okay.

Ataemommy
by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 2:12 PM


Quoting massteria:

I stopped reading when they put in the article that the schools are mostly white while the mother is black and race obviously had nothing to do with it.  That right there makes the reporter and the paper that reported it complete idiots.  That is far from unbiased reporting and no paper or news venue at all should be pulling out the race card.

Fraud is a felony offense, plain and simple.  If she wanted her kids to go to a better school then she should have sent them to live with her father who was within the district.  I understand wanting better for your kids, but lying to make it happen is not okay.

REGARDLESS of what she did, how does the punishment fit the crime?

momto2boys973
by Platinum Member on Mar. 2, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Well, for those who want to live in a capitalist democracy, you take it as it is. And it's a system of haves and have-nots and the haves will, well, have more. Sure, it's sad and sometimes seems unfair, but if we want a society where everyone regardless of economic possibilities has the exact same education, then we should go to a socialist country. I may want better medical coverage for me and my kids, but if I lie to the insurance company to get it, it's fraude and it's a crime. Not to sound like a fortune cookie, but don't do the crime if you can't do the time. She probably knew that she was violating the law and that if she got  caught, there would be consequences.My heart goes out to her because, as a mother, I can understand, but she did break the law.

Sharon

massteria
by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 2:20 PM


Quoting Ataemommy:


Quoting massteria:

I stopped reading when they put in the article that the schools are mostly white while the mother is black and race obviously had nothing to do with it.  That right there makes the reporter and the paper that reported it complete idiots.  That is far from unbiased reporting and no paper or news venue at all should be pulling out the race card.

Fraud is a felony offense, plain and simple.  If she wanted her kids to go to a better school then she should have sent them to live with her father who was within the district.  I understand wanting better for your kids, but lying to make it happen is not okay.

REGARDLESS of what she did, how does the punishment fit the crime?

I never said that the punishment fit the crime...that is not up to me.  Honestly, I think it is ridiculous that she would go to such lengths.  Breaking the law for the sake of a better education is still breaking the law.  She faced consequences for her actions, a judge made a decision based on evidence.....not my call to say if it was right or not.

abbysmommy429
by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 2:20 PM

 It's sad that a parent would feel the need to take such drastic measures, just to ensure her kids would get a decent education.

BlueEyes689
by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 2:21 PM

my father sent me to a different school from where i was suppose to be going no one ever said shit and i will be doing the same for my kids if it means a better education

orcadarwin
by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 2:22 PM

What she did was illegal, plain and simple.  She should have to suffer the punishment, plain and simple.

Quoting Ataemommy:


Quoting massteria:

I stopped reading when they put in the article that the schools are mostly white while the mother is black and race obviously had nothing to do with it.  That right there makes the reporter and the paper that reported it complete idiots.  That is far from unbiased reporting and no paper or news venue at all should be pulling out the race card.

Fraud is a felony offense, plain and simple.  If she wanted her kids to go to a better school then she should have sent them to live with her father who was within the district.  I understand wanting better for your kids, but lying to make it happen is not okay.

REGARDLESS of what she did, how does the punishment fit the crime?


A mother's child is every breath she takes. Walking hand in hand, every step she takes.
momto2boys973
by Platinum Member on Mar. 2, 2011 at 2:26 PM


Quoting orcadarwin:

What she did was illegal, plain and simple.  She should have to suffer the punishment, plain and simple.

Quoting Ataemommy:


Quoting massteria:

I stopped reading when they put in the article that the schools are mostly white while the mother is black and race obviously had nothing to do with it.  That right there makes the reporter and the paper that reported it complete idiots.  That is far from unbiased reporting and no paper or news venue at all should be pulling out the race card.

Fraud is a felony offense, plain and simple.  If she wanted her kids to go to a better school then she should have sent them to live with her father who was within the district.  I understand wanting better for your kids, but lying to make it happen is not okay.

REGARDLESS of what she did, how does the punishment fit the crime?


Exactly. We all want the best for our children, but that doesn't mean we can break the law because our intentions were good and noble. I try to give my children the best that I CAN, and yes, it sometimes means a less than ideal situation, but that's the way it is. At least I'm not showing them that when you can't afford what you want, the best thing to do is to lie and cheat your way to it.

Sharon

AnitaVersion2.0
by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 2:27 PM

She was sent to jail for deliberately breaking the fucking law.  Fuck her.

Tiffany3949
by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 2:29 PM

 i personally feel the punishment was too light. To me if u want ur kids to be in a better school district move there or pay the tuition for them to go there ( most public schools in Ohio u can pay tuition to go to if u live out of their district)

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