Author Topic: Mother Jailed For Sending Kids to Wrong School District  (Read 4243 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Mother Jailed For Sending Kids to Wrong School District
« on: January 25, 2011, 08:48:29 pm »
from THE BOYCE BLOG:

Sunday, January 23, 2011
Mother Jailed For Sending Kids to Wrong School District



by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University Ė Scholarship in Action

An Ohio mother of two was sentenced to 10 days in jail and placed on three years probation after sending her kids to a school district in which they did not live. Kelly Williams-Bolar was sentenced by Judge Patricia Cosgrove on Tuesday and will begin serving her sentence immediately.

The jury deliberated for seven hours and the courtroom was packed as the sentence was handed down. She was convicted on two counts of tampering with court records after registering her two girls as living with Williams Bolar's father when they actually lived with her. The family lived in the housing projects in Akron, Ohio, and the fatherís address was in nearby Copley Township.

Additionally, Williams-Bolarís father, Edward L. Williams, was charged with a fourth-degree felony of grand theft, in which he and his daughter are charged with defrauding the school system for two years of educational services for their girls. The court determined that sending their children to the wrong school was worth $30,500 in tuition.

When I read about this case, a few thoughts went through my mind. First, itís clear that the court is trying to make Kelly Williams-Bolar into an example. Even the judge in the case, Patricia Cosgrove, said that her sentence was appropriate ''so that others who think they might defraud the school system perhaps will think twice.''

Secondly, itís interesting how courts find it convenient to make someone into an example when they happen to be poor and black. Iíd love to see how they prosecute wealthy white women who commit the same offense. Oh, I forgot: Most wealthy white women donít have to send their kids to the schools located near the projects.

Third, Iím not sure why the court is treating this law-abiding mom like a thug who ran into a building with a shotgun and robbed the district of $30,000. Instead, they could simply subtract the amount it costs for her kids to go to the second school from the amount that would be spent for them to attend the first one. Iím sure the difference would still be substantial, since American educational apartheid dictates that schools in poorer neighborhoods are of significantly less quality than other schools. The racial divisions within American schools are nothing less than a blatant and consistent human rights violation and should certainly be treated as such.

A final interesting blow by Judge Cosgrove that reflects the experience of marginalized African Americans in the criminal justice system relates to Williams-Bolarís quest to obtain a teaching degree. The single mother was in school studying to become a teacher so that she could create a better life for her girls. But that wonít happen for her family now, given that the judge has all but shut the door on her chance to fulfill her dream:

''Because of the felony conviction, you will not be allowed to get your teaching degree under Ohio law as it stands today,'' the judge said. ''The court's taking into consideration that is also a punishment that you will have to serve.''

This case is a textbook example of everything that remains racially wrong with Americaís educational, economic and criminal justice systems. Letís start from the top: Had Ms. Williams-Bolar been white, she likely would never have been prosecuted for this crime in the first place (Iíd love for them to show me a white woman in that area whoís gone to jail for the same crime). She also is statistically not as likely to be living in a housing project with the need to break an unjust law in order to create a better life for her daughters. Being black is also correlated with the fact that Williams-Bolar likely didnít have the resources to hire the kinds of attorneys who could get her out of this mess (since the average black familyís wealth is roughly 1/10 that of white families). Finally, economic inequality is impactful here because thatís the reason that Williams-Bolarís school district likely has fewer resources than the school she chose for her kids. In other words, black people have been historically robbed of our economic opportunities, leading to a two-tiered reality that we are then imprisoned for attempting to alleviate. That, my friends, is American Racism 101.

This case is also an example of how racial-inequality created during slavery and Jim Crow continues to cripple our nation to this day. 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.


Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: Mother Jailed For Sending Kids to Wrong School District
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2011, 09:21:40 pm »
from GAWKER:

Mom Convicted of Felony, Jailed for Fraudulently Sending Kids to Safer School
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 Townshipóas 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 recordsóand 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.


Offline Vic Vega

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Re: Mother Jailed For Sending Kids to Wrong School District
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2011, 10:56:13 pm »
The school district hired a Private Dectective? Huh. Had this woman and her kids been White that would never have occured to them.

So the School Districts are willing to use what is effectively Private Law Enforcement to keep the status quo intact. And nobody seems to have a problem with this either.

Bull Connor must be laughing his ass off in Hell.

Offline Hypestyle

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Re: Mother Jailed For Sending Kids to Wrong School District
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2011, 07:06:22 am »
there will hopefully be an appeals process.. this could set up a precedent where all of a sudden minority students get ultra-scrutinized for whatever school they are attending.. listening to an urban-talk show, I heard black callers agreeing with the judge's decision, feeling that their tax money goes to support "outside" kids going to school near them..
« Last Edit: January 26, 2011, 07:09:12 am by Hypestyle »
Be Kind to Someone Today.

Offline BmoreAkuma

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Re: Mother Jailed For Sending Kids to Wrong School District
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2011, 11:03:41 am »
I'll state this. When will the parents of these "poor stricken" communites actually hold these schools accountable for subpar teaching? This has been going for decades and many have been getting way with it. Please spare me the "better education for my kids" If she want to have it that badly why not have the kids move in and stay with the father? (ya ya of course the father could be a bad influence and blah blah blah) I don't get where too many parents have this blind delusion that if "i move my child from school a to school b my child will do better" Who says that this "better school" is better for your child. It could be worse. It sounds like the silly notion of where a parent would send their kids to "the county". Acting as if this school system is the land of milk and honey.

When it boils down to it, the parent must still be involved even if the child isn't disabled. Also the child must want to learn. I hear too many stories of parents whining about why their son or daughter isn't doing too well but don't get involved in a simple PTA meeting.

I'll admit that the school system wasted money in hiring a PI. Someone must have pissed someone off. I also admit that it screams "racially motivated" but it still doesn't remove the fact that she done something that one isn't suppose to do. The thing I hate about this topic is that "newsone" titled "Black Mother Jailed For Sending Kids to White School District" If that doesn't rile up racial controversy I don't know what will.
With these choices, I felt that the American black man only needed to choose which one to get eaten by; the liberal fox or the conservative wolf because both of them will eat him.

Offline Vic Vega

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Re: Mother Jailed For Sending Kids to Wrong School District
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2011, 01:28:46 pm »
I'll state this. When will the parents of these "poor stricken" communites actually hold these schools accountable for subpar teaching? This has been going for decades and many have been getting way with it. Please spare me the "better education for my kids" If she want to have it that badly why not have the kids move in and stay with the father? (ya ya of course the father could be a bad influence and blah blah blah) I don't get where too many parents have this blind delusion that if "i move my child from school a to school b my child will do better" Who says that this "better school" is better for your child. It could be worse. It sounds like the silly notion of where a parent would send their kids to "the county". Acting as if this school system is the land of milk and honey.

Apparently all public school systems are not created equal.

For example, I am told that one of the few things keeping the rental prices down (relatively speaking) around my neck of the woods is that the nearly all the public schools around here stink.

Were the public schools around here actually any good, the hordes of gentrifiers around here would be even more pronounced and housing demand (and the already insanely high rents) would go up.  Faced with the prospect of either taking thier kids to crappy public schools or having to (gasp) pay for private or parochial schools, these folks move to the 'burbs instead. Where the schools don't suck and they don't have to pay a dime (Rich Manhattanites will gladly pay just to keep thier kids away from the middle class rabble, so this has little to do with them either way).

This also accounts for the tremendous enthusiam for Charter Schools around here. Nobody is trying to fix the existing system, they just want thier kids to escape it one way or another.

It would be hard to imagine that this incident didn't have a racial component to it.

If this mom and her kids were White, the School District would have to do a hell of a lot more legwork than playing "One of these things is not like the other" to suss out possible fraud.

That doesn't make what the mom did any less fraud, but stuff is what it is here. And if she lived in a neigborhood with enough White folks in it, she probably woundn't have to had attempted this in the first place.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2011, 01:35:16 pm by Vic Vega »

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: Mother Jailed For Sending Kids to Wrong School District
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2011, 01:46:24 pm »
The only way this woman can fight back is if she finds a brilliant lawyer who will take on the case with no cash upfront to put the system itself on trial for having separate and unequal schools in the 21st century.   Which means that becomes her whole life because that's what lawsuits do...take every minute of your day.  So who takes care of her kid? 

This is a great case for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Vic, you bring up a point that Geoffrey Canada says in WAITING FOR SUPERMAN - good schools improve neighborhoods.  A poor community may not be able to build a manufacturing plant to provide jobs, but if they can pressure the school board to improve the schools, that becomes a magnet for middle class folks to raise the values of the housing stock.

Offline BlackRodimus

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Re: Mother Jailed For Sending Kids to Wrong School District
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2011, 09:17:34 am »
"don't fight the power, be the power" - Reginald Hudlin

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: Mother Jailed For Sending Kids to Wrong School District
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2011, 10:04:53 am »
And now she's free:
http://newsone.com/nation/newsonestaff2/black-ohio-mom-released-from-jail-in-controversial-school-case/
I really hope they investigate this judge.

I agree. Don't stop until another example is made...of that evil judge.

Offline jefferson L.O.B. sergeant

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Re: Mother Jailed For Sending Kids to Wrong School District
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2011, 12:34:04 am »
Lets see if all of the Akron natives who came out in protest of Lebron's leaving come out and protest for a better public school system in their communities.

Yeah, that'll happen.

 >:(

NYC is the battleground for the fate of public education in this country. With Emperor Bloomberg seeking to close more than 40 schools and layoff thousands of teachers, comprable situations such as these are bound to arise.

What needs to happen here as well as in Akron is for parents to go en masse and demand enrollment in these outer schools. If they can't get in, nobody else's kids can get in either.

It has reached this point.

Offline jefferson L.O.B. sergeant

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Re: Mother Jailed For Sending Kids to Wrong School District
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2011, 12:38:01 am »
This may be too easy or calculated but the idea struck me.

Lebron takes up this issue and rallies Akron and Cleveland natives to address the inequalities in the public school system. All he has to do is take footage of them burning his jersey and ask one simple question.

Are you willing to be as passionate about your kids future as you were about my leaving the Cavs?

I DEMAND a percentage from Nike, Lebron Inc. and Spike Lee if this happens! 8)

P.S. I'm serious about the percentage.

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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Re: Mother Jailed For Sending Kids to Wrong School District
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2011, 08:29:35 am »
This may be too easy or calculated but the idea struck me.

Lebron takes up this issue and rallies Akron and Cleveland natives to address the inequalities in the public school system. All he has to do is take footage of them burning his jersey and ask one simple question.

Are you willing to be as passionate about your kids future as you were about my leaving the Cavs?

I DEMAND a percentage from Nike, Lebron Inc. and Spike Lee if this happens! 8)

P.S. I'm serious about the percentage.

LeBron speaking up about the quality of education in his home state would be powerful. 

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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from WHAT ABOUT OUR DAUGHTERS:

Kelly Williams-Bolar, Lea Fastow, and Kemba Smith:This Ain't About School Choice Folks
Friday, January 28, 2011 at 6:44AM The Blogmother
 A WAOD reader (DROCK)emailed me about this case almost two weeks ago before it blew up on the national stage. Since then I have been waiting for the response from the prosecutor about why she was charged with a felony for falsifying documents in order to get her daughters into schools in a district they were not zoned for.

  "An Akron woman was sentenced to 10 days in the Summit County Jail, placed on three years of probation and ordered to perform community service after being convicted of falsifying residency records so that her two children could attend Copley-Fairlawn schools."

This story is from ohio.com.  A black woman was credits away from getting her teaching degree, and now she is a convicted felon for trying to send her kids to a better school.  I know she lied and needed to be punished, but the punishment does not fit the crime.  Her life is ruined.  People with drug convictions get off on probation with no felony charges.  Since you are an attorney, I know you can break this down as far as her crime and punishment and the law. DROCK

 Thank you DROCK for your confidence in my ability to "break this down." :) So here it goes....

Today I donít want to talk about educational reform, because thatís whatís convenient. That discussion is a red herring. Sure, school choice appears to be at the center of this case, but it ainít. 

Occupational hazard, Iíve been waiting for the prosecutors to respond to the public uproar. They havenít. That should tell you something. What does it tell you? That they are going after a much bigger fish. Williams-Bolar appears to be collateral damage.

 

 

In June 2009, the late Chief Justice, Thomas J. Moyer, threw out Williams' appeal, which was based on his claim that his home was incorporated under his wife's name as the Elizabeth Williams Group Home Inc.

Williams and his daughter were indicted by county prosecutors on the theft and tampering charges on Nov. 2, 2009, court records show.

On Jan. 10, two days before the joint trial began in Cosgrove's court, Edward Williams filed notice of a civil rights action in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

Williams and his daughter had asked Cosgrove to delay their trial as a result of the filing, but the judge denied the request.

Walsh, Summit County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Cody and various Copley-Fairlawn school officials were named in the federal civil rights filing. Source

 

Now this ALL makes more sense.

High profile examples of women being collateral damage when prosecutors are after the men in their lives Kimba Smith, Lea Fastow, and Monica Lewinsky.

This case isnít about school choice. This case is about a woman being prosecutorial  LEVERAGE.

Yíall are running around having a debate about education, but she didnít get charged with a felony because her daughters went to nicer schools, she got charged with a felony because her Daddy is a ďproblem-child.Ē

But , what about education???? More than happy to have a discussion about school choice, but in this case, thatís just a distraction. It like saying the reason the feds were after Al Capone is because he couldn't use Turbo Tax properly.

 Iím more interested in the prosecutors motivation for moving forward with a felony as opposed to a misdemeanor. There is more to this story, otherwise, the prosecutorís office would be out there defending their decision, but they aren't so that means something else is more important... getting  Williams-Bolar's father.  He's not helping matters by running around giving idiotic statements like "She didn't send them to the neighboring district to get a better education"

Update: 11 a.m. EST, Jan. 26, 2011 Edward Williams, Kelley Williams-Bolar's father, called to clarify that her decision to enroll her children in the suburban district had nothing to do with the academic quality of the school and was because of safety issues. Williams-Bolar's house had been broken into and she'd had to file 12 different police reports due to crime in the area, he said. Enrolling the children in the district where her father lived was a safety-based decision, and Williams wants to dispel any rumors that it was based on academics. Change.org.

WHAT??? How is he being helpful to his daughter? 

I have tons of other questions too, like why didn't her defense attorney file an immediate appeal and ask that she remain out on bond pending that appeal. The worst damage was done. She lost her liberty. You can appeal now all you want and maybe get the felony conviction thrown out using the same arguments that Genarlow Wilson used in Georgia about cruel and unusual punishment. It will probably be easier, however, to have the governor of Ohio issue a pardon.

 Irony of ironies, the father might benefit from the uproar over his daughter being jailed.


Offline BmoreAkuma

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Re: Mother Jailed For Sending Kids to Wrong School District
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2011, 10:37:02 am »
This may be too easy or calculated but the idea struck me.

Lebron takes up this issue and rallies Akron and Cleveland natives to address the inequalities in the public school system. All he has to do is take footage of them burning his jersey and ask one simple question.

Are you willing to be as passionate about your kids future as you were about my leaving the Cavs?

I DEMAND a percentage from Nike, Lebron Inc. and Spike Lee if this happens! 8)

P.S. I'm serious about the percentage.


I don't blame you at JS. It is amazing that it is the case. I also agree with reggie about Lebron speaking on it. Isn't he from Akron? Would he "relate" in some form or fashion? I could have swore he said he wanted to speak up on issues like Muhammed Ali. Now this is the perfect opportunity to clean up his image. Lebron should do it. Hopefully an interviewer would bring it up as well.
With these choices, I felt that the American black man only needed to choose which one to get eaten by; the liberal fox or the conservative wolf because both of them will eat him.

Offline jefferson L.O.B. sergeant

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Re: Mother Jailed For Sending Kids to Wrong School District
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2011, 08:02:48 pm »
This may be too easy or calculated but the idea struck me.

Lebron takes up this issue and rallies Akron and Cleveland natives to address the inequalities in the public school system. All he has to do is take footage of them burning his jersey and ask one simple question.

Are you willing to be as passionate about your kids future as you were about my leaving the Cavs?

I DEMAND a percentage from Nike, Lebron Inc. and Spike Lee if this happens! 8)

P.S. I'm serious about the percentage.


I don't blame you at JS. It is amazing that it is the case. I also agree with reggie about Lebron speaking on it. Isn't he from Akron? Would he "relate" in some form or fashion? I could have swore he said he wanted to speak up on issues like Muhammed Ali. Now this is the perfect opportunity to clean up his image. Lebron should do it. Hopefully an interviewer would bring it up as well.


Reggie, will have instant access at the all-star game, he can do it!

I'll call on Nike to add you to the lifetime sneaker deal. 8)

It is really too easy though, Lebron is bulletproof on the issue and if they push him too far he can also bring up the exploitation of the college athlete  .