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Mom Jailed for Sending Kids to Better School

Locking children into failing schools just wasn't enough. Now, we're locking up mothers for trying to send their kids to better schools.

This is madness. A mother has been sent to jail for lying about her residence because she was attempting to send her kids to a better school district.

If you ask me, the union thugs and their cohorts in Congress and state legislatures around the country should be the ones facing time for locking children into failing schools.

Time Magazine reports:

Much of the poltical rhetoric on education reform has centered on the ability of parents to send their children to better schools, particularly in situations where they were forced to send them to schools that were failing. But in the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar, her desire to get her children better educational placement landed her in jail, and may well derail her aspirations of becoming a teacher herself.

Williams-Bolar, 40, and her two children live in housing projects in Akron, Ohio. For two years, she sent them to school in the Copley-Fairlawn district, where her father lived, because it was a safer environment -- the high crime rate in her area drove her decision. The suburban school district hired a private investigator to find their residential records and it turned out she listed the children as living in that district, although they actually stayed with her.

Technically, that qualifies as a felony since she falsified records, and Judge Patricia Cosgrove sentenced her to two concurrent five-year prison sentences. She suspended the sentence, though, in favor of a 10-day jail sentence, 80 hours of community service and three years probation. She had been working as a teaching assistant for special needs children and earning a teaching degree, but since she is now a convicted felon, under Ohio law she cannot earn that degree.
Our education system in this country is disgraceful.

And don't expect help from the Obama administration despite the President's remarks during the SOTU about making our schools more competitive. Remember two years ago, sat by and Congress revoked Opportunity Scholarships for 216 students in Washington D.C, according to the Washington Times.

Even Joe Lieberman called it "the civil rights issue" of our time. Speaker John Boehner and Lieberman introduced legislation just yesterday to return the school voucher program to D.C.

So instead of putting mothers in jail maybe we should let them send their children to a decent school. Crazy idea, I know.

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Tim Burke said...

You know, it is disgraceful that the school district and the judge went as far as they went, hiring a private investigator and receiving a 10 day jail sentence. But the woman lied. We all need to make an account for our actions, good or bad. She may have had the best of intentions, trying to get her kids into a better school, but to lie....I'm not sure that is the best way to go about it.

Anonymous said...

At least she has her children. People lose them for no reason.

Anonymous said...

I live here in Akron. What the story did not point out is that this woman did not pay taxes for the Copley-Fairlawn school district since she is not a resident. She is also, in fact, an Akron Public Schools employee, so she knew full-well what she was doing. At first glance it looks like she was simply being a good mother, but I am also a public employee, and we are repeatedly reminded that we cannot cross certain lines as such.

I enjoy your blog very much, but I thought you would like to know there is more to this story.

Susan from Akron

Sue said...

Schools hire private detectives all of the time because parents falsify records all of the time. You can go anywhere in the country and find people who actively lie in order to get their children in a different school, for whatever reason. When I say "actively lie", I mean that they take steps that are illegal and in turn, tell their children to lie. The children know what's going on most of the time, so they are being asked to participate in illegal activities. That's not such a great life lesson.
In our area, if a school has a poor grade (you can agree or not - this is the way it works), the parents are allowed to choose a school for their students to attend that is performing well. There are no limitations to the choice. The only stipulation is that the parents must provide transportation to that school. There are charters, Choices in Learning, magnets - many options for parents to choose, other than lying. Maybe Ohio doesn't have this - no idea.

jawats said...

I have to agree with the judge's decision, especially given the tax evasion and the employee status of the mother. This is not a situation where necessity drove the mother to defraud the schools and tax system, nor lie about the children's residency.

Anonymous said...

In nyc it was common back in the 80s and 90s for parents to use a family address so some or all of their children could attend a particular school. But no law regarding public education can be entirely separated from the plainly unjust laws mandating attendance or approved alternatives.

Anonymous said...

Just like illegal immigration.....it's against the law for others, but in the same position, I'd do it myself and if you wouldn't - you're just a liar!

Get in the cattle car, my little Jewish kids, they told us we have to. Everything will be OK.

Jen Raiche said...

Maybe she didn't pay taxes in one district, but:

- She was paying taxes in another district that were like "free money" for that school--since her children didn't attend.

- Any homeschoolers in that district DO pay taxes and do not "reap the rewards" so to speak, so her children's education may have been paid for.

Gimme a break. Heaven forbid parents are allowed a choice here.

The Dutchman said...

Uh — let me get this straight.

You're the guy who's all against central government, likes to keep things local, doesn't want Federal standards, but when there's an actual difference in local schools, and a woman breaks the law to take advantage of these differences, you think that's fine?

So — do we need to have state and/or national standards or not?

Are people allowed to move to high-tax districts where their kids get better schools (and keep freeloaders out) or not?

Dymphna said...

We all pay for public school. Parents should be able to send their kids where they want. Heck I should get money back because I don't have children in public school.

Renee said...

I made this comment on another FB posting,

"I don't know how I feel about this. I want to know what she did to help out within her own school district to make it better? Why not become an activist there, rather then commit fraud. I live in an urban area with schools the test below the suburbs, there are many parents who do their best to make their system a better one. In fact when you factor out family concerns at home, those who come from relatively stable homes do fine in our public schools."

Thanks Susan from Akron for that info.

Mari said...

If people had school choice -- yeah, I'm "pro-choice" on schools! -- that would immediately motivate the failing schools to do better. Parents should have the choice to send their kids to better schools at least within the same school district. Definitely pols who vote against school choice, like the DC program, are not helping kids.

That being said, I don't think this mom did the right thing, because two wrongs don't make a right.

Still, if her sentence was just, then is it just that those who voted to end the DC voucher program get off scot-free?

Charles said...

Ohio has an open enrollment policy. School districts that accept students from outside the district get the state money along with the students. Many students come to Akron Public Schools under open enrollment. Many Akron students go outside the district to enroll legally in suburban districts that participate. Copley-Fairlawn doesn't participate. But this woman had other choices.

suburbanbanshee said...

If one parent is paying taxes in a school district, I don't see that the kids' residency should matter at all. Heck, if Cousin Bob or Auntie Sue is paying taxes in the school district, I think they should be allowed to have at least four or five of their kid relatives attend school in that district.

As other people have noted, there are plenty more childless people paying taxes, than there are kids beating on the public school's doors.

celledoor said...

It's kind of odd seeing CMR supporting "undocumented" families gaming the system in order to make their lives a little better for them and their families. Aren't they "illegal"?

Anonymous said...

How many nights a week would the kids have had to stay with the Grandfather to satisfy the residency mandate?

If the hoops (laws) are silly and mandate an inferior option, it's likely the burdens placed on the citizens are designed with special interests in mind rather than the best interests of the people who must live under them.

Time for tea.

Matthew Siekierski said...

She did the crime and is serving the time. While I applaud her desire to get the best for her kids, her method was wrong, and now she is paying the price.

She knew that what she was doing was illegal.

Changes need to be made to our education system, but that doesn't excuse illegal activity. She should have pursued other, legal, actions.

Anonymous said...

Matthew, I've never believed in the "law is the law" argument. Some laws should be resisted openly otherwise we become gray faceless automotons like the North Koreans.

Mary De Voe said...

Her father needed to adopt his grandchildren. Our immoral culture is a persistent poison.

Anonymous said...

"that doesn't excuse illegal activity"

the law is a miscarriage of justice, and the punishment far too harsh

"two concurrent five-year prison sentences"

why was it suspended? mercy? or the child would have moved in with the grandparent and then attended the same suburban school - d'oh! Or would the state not have allowed that due to possible collusion on the grandfather's part, and kidnapped the poor kid for their foster-rape system.

The public school system is one of the deadliest poisons in the history of governments.

Anonymous said...

All the more reason to dismantle the public school system and send kids to private school or homeschool.

Matthew Siekierski said...

Some laws should be resisted. This is not one of them. The requirement that students attending a public school district live within the district is not unreasonable, it's not an undue burden.

The mother must have had to commit multiple incidents of falsification of information. Laws against falsifying information on government documents are not unjust or unreasonable.

I see nothing about this that "should be resisted" or that is unjust.

The problem is with her local school, not the laws she violated. The local school being bad does not justify her actions.

Paul said...

The government should not be in the business of telling her, or anyone else, where they can or cannot send their children to school. That's where the core of the problem lies.

I would remind everyone that "free, universal public education" is one of the demands of the Communist Manifesto. Sounds great, but in practice it doesn't work out quite so well.

Anonymous said...

"The local school being bad does not justify her actions."

Yes, it does. Mothers do the best they can to care for their children, including break lousy laws to protect them.

Some laws should be broken, because some laws are crappy.

Anonymous said...

"The requirement that students attending a public school district live within the district is not unreasonable, it's not an undue burden."

The new laws threatening to shut down low performance schools kind of blows this argument out of the water. It would seem that many schools are an undue burden.

David said...

She was jailed for falsification of records, not for trying to send her kids to a better school. That's like saying an illegal immigrant was arrested for trying to feed his family. It's pretty rich seeing conservative bloggers get bent out of shape over this, almost as good as so-called pro-life "constitutionalists" trying to tweak the 14th amendment to deny citizenship to babies born to parents who are non-citizens...

Anonymous said...


Can you really not tell the difference between a national boundary and a school district? Are you that oblivious to the criticism of mandatory education and a lack of school choice?

The Dutchman said...

So much for subsidiarity as a fundamental principle, huh? I think this exposes pretty clearly that calls for "subsidiarity" are usually just attacks at government doing anything at any level. It is the same old story: it is the poor who wish good government, for the rich do not wish to be governed.

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