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Entries in Akron (1)


Kelly Williams-Bolar: Discrimination or Justice?

Kelly Williams-Bolar, 40, was sent to jail for 10 days and placed on probation for 3 years.

Judge Patricia Cosgrove handed down the sentence after Kelley was convicted on two felony counts of tampering with court records. Her crime - sending her two daughters to a better school district than the one in which she lived.

Kelly Williams-Bolar lived in the projects in Akron, Ohio. Her father, Edward L. Williams, lived in nearby Copley Township - a distance of about 7 miles. She registered her two daughters using their grandfather's address so that they could attend the better schools.

The school district became suspicious of the two girls' residence and hired a private detective, at a cost of about $6,000, to determine where they really lived. When the report came out, indicating that the girls did not actually live in the school district, their mother was arrested and brought before the court.

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Edward L. Williams and his daughter Kelly were also charged with a fourth-degree felony of grand theft. They were jointly accused of defrauding the school system for two years of educational services. The court determined the cost at $30,500 in tuition fees.

In handing down the sentence, Judge Patricia Cosgrove, said that her sentence was appropriate ''so that others who think they might defraud the school system perhaps will think twice.''

To add insult to injury, Kelly had been studying to become a teacher, taking night classes at the University of Akron, so that she and her daughters could have a better life. Now that will not happen. That opportunity was forever closed to Kelly with her felony conviction.

''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.''

 Although there are obvious differences, back in 1954 the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that in order to achieve racial integration in schools, blacks were bused into white schools where the standard of education was much higher. In many cases federal troops were sent in to protect the black students from harassment.

Kelly Williams-Bolar, was trying to achieve, albeit illegally, her own personal quest to afford her kids a better education. Her quest failed, most spectacularly, and not only did she receive jail time and a felony conviction to boot, but she also sacrificed any chance she had at earning a teaching degree to improve her own personal situation. Was it worth the effort?

On the other hand one has to speculate on the "diligence" with which the Copley Township school district pursued this case in hiring a private detective and prosecuting Kelly Williams-Bolar to the fullest extent of the law. Did they do the right thing?

If you would like to find out more about this situation or lend your support click here and also here.