Earlier this year, the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar, a single mother of two, made national headlines after she was charged with a third-degree felony and sentenced to ten days in prison. Her crime: Wanting to make sure her children had a safe place to attend school.
In 2006, after her home in a housing project in Akron was burglarized, Williams-Bolar decided to send her children to school in the suburban Copley-Fairlawn district, where her father was living; she said that she and her daughters were living part-time with him. But the Copley-Fairlawn school district hired a private investigator and discovered she was living at least part of the time in Akron. Williams-Bolar was asked to pay $30,000 in back tuition; she refused and was convicted of falsifying her residency records. Williams-Bolar was ordered to serve a suspended sentence of ten days and was released on January 18, one day early, after being given credit for time served, she was jailed immediately following her 2009 arrest. She was also given two years of probation and 80 hours of community service.
In February, the charges of grand theft were dismissed against Williams-Bolar and Ohio Governor John Kasich asked the Ohio Parole Board to review her felony conviction. Williams-Bolar had been working as a special education teaching assistant and had no prior criminal record but, unless the felony is eliminated from her record, she will be unable to get a teaching certificate under Ohio law.
As reported on Babble, September 2, the Ohio Parole Board, after reviewing Williams-Bolar’s case, has recommended that she not be pardoned. According to the Associated Press, the Board said that she “could have solved her schooling situation legitimately and was dishonest before and after her conviction”:
“Ms. Williams-Bolar was faced with a no more difficult situation than any other working parent who must ensure that their children are safe during, before and after school hours in their absence,” it said in its unanimous ruling. “Most parents find legitimate and legal options to address this issue. Ms. Williams-Bolar’s only response was to be deceitful.”
The board also rejected Williams-Bolar’s arguments that her conviction harmed her future plans, noting that she has hardly made the efforts necessary to obtain a degree to teach.
Photo from The Curvature
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