Ohio Woman Double Felon For Sending Kids To Good School

An Ohio woman was convicted of two felony counts for sending her kids to good schools.

Radley Balko calls attention to the sad case of Kelley Williams-Bolar:

The Summit County judge who sent an Akron mother to jail after she was convicted of falsifying records so her children could attend Copley-Fairlawn schools said considerable efforts were made to resolve the case before it went to trial.

Common Pleas Judge Patricia A. Cosgrove spoke out after becoming the target of public outcry over the case, which threatens the mother’s job and her hopes to become a school teacher.

Cosgrove said the county prosecutor’s office refused to consider reducing the charges to misdemeanors, and that all closed-door talks to resolve the case — outside of court — met with failure.

Kelley Williams-Bolar, 40, was sentenced Tuesday to 10 days in jail after a jury convicted her of two felony counts of tampering with records.

Cosgrove said numerous pretrial hearings were held since last summer.

”The state would not move, would not budge, and offer Ms. Williams-Bolar to plead to a misdemeanor,” the judge said in an interview Wednesday.

”Of course, I can’t put a gun to anybody’s head and force the state to offer a plea bargain.”

Radley notes the additional indignity that, “Williams-Bolar was also attending night school to obtain her teaching certificate. Her felony record could now bar her from teaching. Cosgrove has said she’d consider expunging the felonies if Williams-Bolar completes six months of probation.”

Obviously, this woman is sympathetic:  Who doesn’t want their kids to get a better education?  And, by going for absurdly inflated charges, the prosecutors overreached here.

Still, this is indeed fraud that costs real taxpayers real money.  Her kids don’t in fact live with grandma.  Nor does she pay property taxes on grandma’s house.  She’s not entitled to send her kids to school on those people’s property tax dime.

We’ve got real problems with inequity of educational funding in this country that we ought to address. Theft and fraud, however, is not an acceptable stopgap.

FILED UNDER: Education, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    “Theft and fraud, however, is not an acceptable stopgap.”

    I agree. There are perhaps several ways to legally “game” the system without resorting to fraud and failing that, there is home schooling, outside tutors, etc. Those would cost her money from her own pocket which is probably why she chose instead to steal from others.

  2. Theft and fraud, however, is not an acceptable stopgap.

    Why not?

  3. LISA JACKSON says:

    Um what JUDGE in her right mind whould do such a STUPID thing when someone is tryin to better them SELF &ND THER KIDS.

  4. James Joyner says:

    The judge didn’t have any choice in the matter: She can ask prosecutors to levy lesser charges but she has to judge the case on the legal merits. The woman was guilty. And was only sentenced to 10 days, reflecting that the judge understood the motivation was not evil.

  5. Kim says:

    The real theft is the zoning/rezoning of residencies that prohibit all citizens the pursuit of equity in education. Falsifying reports exists on the legislative end when our country reduces itself to victimizing its citizens for attempting to make a positive contribution to society. I am curious to know if there is a teacher, residency law in the school districts involved and if so, do all of the teachers live where they claim; if there is no teacher residency law then why is there a student residency law… From my observation it appears that lady justice is indeed blind, but only for those that benefit the most. My prayers are with this mother and many like her all over our country who continue to suffer the injustices of the legalities of school/residency zoning and rezoning to maintain the monster of the ‘status quo’ in our educational “race to the top’ system: [see “Gautreaux” The Children in Room E4 by Susan Eaton; and Savage Inequalities and The Shame of a Nation by Jonathan Kozol] To God be the Glory.

  6. Rodney says:

    The grandma was paying taxing in that school district…if she wants her grand kids to attend a school that she is paying for…I do not see the crime……..this is clearly over reaching

    School Tax is just not fair if you do not have a kid in the system you should not have to pay, but if you have to pay I should beable to send my grand kids to that school system if I want.