Mom Behind Bars for Trying to Give Kids a Decent Education

Filed under: In The News, Education: Big Kids, Education: Tweens, Education: Teens


A 40-year-old Ohio mom is heading to jail for trying to sneak her kids into a better school.

Kelley Williams-Bolar pretended her two daughters lived with her father -- their grandpa -- so that they could attend the better, safer school in his district. She and the girls were then trailed by detectives hired by the school to videotape where they really lived: A housing project. Ah ha!

Bringing this case, including the private eyes' fees, cost the district $6,000.

Still, that's less than the $30,000 the district says Williams-Bolar, a school aide, defrauded them of by letting her kids infiltrate their classrooms. After all, those lessons are paid for, in part, by local taxes and those taxes are only supposed to benefit local kids. So the authorities hauled Williams-Bolar into court where she was found guilty of a felony, sentenced to 10 days in jail, given 80 hours of community service, and told that she can forget about finishing up her teaching degree.

That's right. Her dream of giving others what she desperately wanted to give her own kids –- a good education -- is dead. Sounding pretty pleased, Judge Patricia Cosgrove announced, "'Because of the felony conviction, you will not be allowed to get your teaching degree under Ohio law as it stands today."

The judge added she hopes this case will serve as a warning to other miscreants seeking to improve their kids' lives by sneaking them into decent schools. After all, here's what can happen when they do:

"My mom pretended we lived with a relative in a wealthier neighborhood," admits a 24-year-old named Melissa, who answered my Tweet query of, "Did your parents sneak you into a better school as a kid?" By attending that school, she says, "I was able to focus on learning and not be menaced by thugs." What good could possibly come of this?

Today Melissa is a computer programmer. She's also attending graduate school at Columbia University. Legally.

"If I ever live in a coveted school district again, maybe I'll rent out my basement to a poor family so they can go to school," Melissa says. "I don't think children should be punished for where their parents live."

But they are, and so are their moms. The judges who send them to prison are not.

Sign a petition to pardon Williams-Bolar here.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.