Ohio mother of two Kelley Williams-Bolar was released from jail on Wednesday after serving nine days for falsifying records so that her two daughters could attend a better school.
Williams-Bolar was convicted by a jury of using her father’s address to claim residency status that would allow her children to attend a higher-performing suburban school.
While her sentence was light in terms of jail time, Williams-Bolar was put on probation for two years and ordered to complete 80 hours of community service. The conviction may threaten her ability to get the teaching license she was working on.
According to NPR,
And the judge felt strongly enough about it in this case that the judge has written a letter to the State Department of Education saying this woman has no record, please don’t make this a reason to pull her license.
The case has struck a cord across the nation with many sympathetic to the struggle of a mother trying to get the best education for her children. The racial undertones of Williams-Bolar’s case have also not gone unnoticed.
Syracuse University Professor Boyce Watkins, who has written about the case, told HLN,
“I felt that the sentence was draconian and really, the case of Kelley WIlliams-Bolar, it’s such a microcosm of everything that is wrong with America when it comes to access to educational quality, when it comes to economic inequality and when it comes to inequality in the criminal justice system.”
Although many parents lie about residency, Williams-Bolar’s case is unique because other parents never land in court. According to NPR, the mother fought to keep her children in the school, while other Ohio parents quickly removed their children from the school if they were confronted by district officials over residency issues.
Williams-Bolar plans to appeal the case. Efforts to support her have sprung up quickly.
The Beacon Journal reports,
The Akron chapter of the National Action Network, led by the Rev. Al Sharpton, was leading an effort on Facebook to raise money to enable Williams-Bolar to afford an appeal of her case. Donations were to be sent directly to her.