An Ohio woman has seen her life upended after being convicted of two felonies for falsifying documents by using her father's address instead of her own so her two girls could study in a better school district. The woman, Kelley Williams-Bolar, 40, served nine days in jail, and, although officials said Thursday she wouldn't lose her job as a special education assistant at a public high school, the nearby school district says she owes $30,000 for the two-plus years her children attended classes there. Does the punishment fit the crime, or is this a harsh way to treat a parent seeking a better life for her kids? (Watch a local report about the controversy)
This is unfair — and probably racist: What happened to Kelley Williams-Bolar "is outrageous," and "an embarrassment for anyone who believes in fair education," says Madeline Holler at Strollerderby. Her family lives in a mostly African-American Akron public housing project served by schools that are "overcrowded, underfunded," and just not as good as the nearby schools for "middle-class and mostly white students." Yes, she broke the rules knowingly, but she did it for her kids. It's only a crime because she's poor and black.
"Mother jailed for sending kids to a good school"
Sorry, anyone who breaks the law should pay: Parents have a right and a duty to fight for the best possible education for their children, says Jeanne Sager at The Stir, but you achieve that by demanding improvement at school board meetings, not by "defrauding" a better school district out of $30,000. It "stinks" that prosecutors seem to be making an example of Williams-Bolar, but "she's still guilty," so she — and anyone else who commits the same crime — deserves to be punished.
"Ohio mom deserves jail for sending kids to better school"
Williams-Bolar is guilty, but so are we all: "I can see both sides of this issue," says Maureen Downey in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It's only natural that Williams-Bolar wants the best education possible for her kids. But it's also understandable that the people in the other school district, "who pay very high taxes to their schools," feel cheated. The deeper problem is that the quality of public education available is uneven, depending "on the wealth of a community and the will of its residents to pay higher taxes."
"Should it be a felony to lie to enroll your children in school?"