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.