Ohio Mother’s Felony Convictions Reduced To Misdemeanors


Ohio mother  Kelley Williams-Bolar can breathe a lot easier. Gov. John Kasich has used his executive clemency authority to reduce felony offenses against the single mother of two to misdemeanors. Williams-Bolar said the governor’s ruling will make it easier for her to keep her job as a special education teacher’s assistant in Akron public schools.

Williams-Bolar’s story stoked national outrage. Initially charged with a third-degree felony and sentenced to ten days in prison, Williams-Bolar was guilty of wanting to send her two daughters to a safe school. After the Copley-Fairlawn school district discovered Williams-Bolar and her children were living part-time with her father in that school district, she was investigated, ordered to pay $30,000 in back tuition and was convicted of falsifying her residency records.  She served a suspended sentence of ten days and was released on January 18, one day early, after being given credit for time served; she was also given two years of probation and 80 hours of community service.

The charges of grand theft were dismissed in February. NewsNet5 quotes a statement from Gov. Kasich issued last week:

“When I first heard about this situation, it seemed to me that the penalty was excessive for the offense. In addition, the penalty could exclude her from certain economic opportunities for the rest of her life. So, today I’ve reduced those felony convictions to what I think are the more appropriate, first degree misdemeanors. No one should interpret this as a pass. It’s a second chance.”

Parents in the Copley-Fairlawn school district expressed understanding about the change in Williams-Bolar’s convictions:

“From my standpoint I guess I’d be a little disappointed,” said Eric Putt when he learned about the governor’s move. “At the same time people deserve a second chance,” he added.

“So I guess I’d be happy that she had an opportunity to maybe clear her name and maybe do something good in her life,” he said.

Bridget Shy wishes Williams-Bolar had done what she did when she moved to Ohio years ago actually move to the district where you want your kids to go.  Even still she agreed the felony stain is too much.

“You know what she did was wrong but I don’t think she needs to be punished severely,” she said, where she can’t take care of her family.

Thank you to everyone who signed the petition on behalf of Williams-Bolar. Let’s hope this new school is full of much success and achievement for Williams-Bolar and her daughters.


Previous Care2 Coverage

Sending Your Kid to the Wrong School Could Land You Five Years Behind Bars

Ohio Gov. Kasich Orders Review of Williams-Bolar’s Felony Conviction

Send Your Kids To The Wrong School: A Felony?

Photo from The Curvature


Lika S.
Lika P5 years ago

Well, I guess the government can't leave a child behind, but if a mother follows suit, she is in trouble... She shouldn't have been charged as a felon in the first place.

Norene H.
Norene H6 years ago

Like a lot of parents this lady was just trying to get her children the best possible education. I think treating her like a criminal was quite the extreme.

Arthur W.
art W6 years ago

How dare a good GOP Governor show a bit of humanity. It will surely generate bad comments from his buddies. This entire event should have been dumped out of court and stop clogging up the legal system with nonsense indictments by over eager prosecutors attempting to pump up their conviction score.

tiffany t.
tiffany t6 years ago

I thought the "no child left behind bill" allowed parents to enroll their children into any school?I l live in Ohio and it was my understanding that I could enroll my daughter in any school district I wanted too. I opted to buy a house in the district but not everybody has that option.

Carmen n.
Carmen n6 years ago

@ MarieW: Good question -- It seems that the LAW is what the ones in power make to keep the rest of us from getting JUSTICE.

Lynne B.
Lynne Buckley6 years ago

I still think that she shouldn't have been charged, but this looks like the best it's going to be. Good luck to Kelley and her children in the future.

Lynn C.
Lynn C6 years ago

I second Margaret C., Lilithe M. and others of like mind. I thought this is what the hard right is screaming about...pull yourself up by your own bootstraps or die.

Lisa Stripling
Lisa Stripling6 years ago

@ Lilthe,

Please reread my posts and show me my "white priveledge". There is none.

I have stated facts of the case. Most posting here do not know the facts of the case. News articles can be written in such a way to make the reader feel what the writer wants them to feel. This case was not simply a woman wanting better for her kids.

I am not saying she should or should not have been punished, I was just stating facts.

Also while no I am not black, I too am a single mother who has never received a dime from my daughter's father. I also have not received food stamps, welfare, or subsidized housing.

Lilithe Magdalene

Lisa - so what if it was about welfare money? I would recommend you spend a day as a single black woman in a poor neighborhood with children to raise and the desire to pull yourself out of it all and do better for your children by any means necessary. Your white privilege which in and of itself is not a bad this, is showing in a not so pretty way. Same with Cathleen S.

I second Nessie B - corporations and politicians get away with all kinds of crap, and all they tend to get is a little slap on the hand if they get caught.

Lisa Stripling
Lisa Stripling6 years ago

@ Margaret:

She did receive a warning. That is part of why she got in trouble. Other people were caught doing the same thing, but when confronted, they admitted to it. She on the other hand falsified government documents when confronted.