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From Black Voices — Most of us at BlackVoices are familiar with the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar, the Ohio mother of two who was sent to jail for sending her children to the “wrong” school district. Williams-Bolar was sentenced to 10 days in jail, three years probation and community service for using her father’s address to avoid sending her kids to the school she considered to be dangerous and inadequate. At AOL BlackVoices, we were one of the first to hit the issue nationally, and fortunately, other media outlets are starting to take notice.

In addition to being sent to jail, Williams-Bolar and her father are being charged with fourth-degree grand theft of school services. As a consequence of her conviction, Williams-Bolar will never be allowed to teach in the state of Ohio, which is the profession she was pursing. The judge also made it clear that she was sending Williams-Bolar to jail as an example for other parents thinking about doing the same thing.

The case sparked a firestorm of national controversy and conversation about educational inequality and the notion that a mother had to break the law in order to give her daughters access to a quality education. Millions of parents expressed support for Williams-Bolar, for they too could recall their own parents making the same sacrifices for them. There have been Facebook groups created to support Williams-Bolar and change.org has created a petition on her behalf to have her record expunged. The petition drew nearly 20,000 signatures over a three-day period and is growing by the second.

(Continue Reading @ Black Voices…)

Yesterday, I got a call from CNN’s ‘AC360,’ and it appears that we will get the chance to talk about the Williams-Bolar case on the show tonight. This is in addition to other media outlets from as far as Japan that have called me about the matter. I was happy to see the national media pick up this story because it is far bigger than one person. It is really about addressing the fundamental human rights violations that lead to a two-tiered racialized reality in America when it comes to our economic, educational and criminal justice systems.

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  • Me27

    I’m glad this is getting national attention.

    I just think it’s sad that the state of Ohio is willing to spend this kind of money on the court trial, the private investigator that followed her and her family to prove they did not live in the right district, and the jail time to prosecute this mother; and yet they seem unwilling to spend money ensuring that each school district is safe and provides an adequate education for all of their students. It’s the states job to ensure that all children have access to a quality education in a safe environment regardless of the district they live in and when the state fails to provide that, why shouldn’t the parent step in and take matters into her own hands? The idea that a person can be jailed for stealing an education is ridiculous and the state of Ohio should be ashamed of themselves.

    • isolde

      I doubt that the state of Ohio paid for the PI, the trial, jail, etc. The district/county did, and it would make sense for them to investigate people whom they suspected of fraud, because the alternative is a lot more expensive.

      I’m glad this case is getting national attention too, because it sheds light on the lengths some parents are going to, to provide a quality education for their children. If the school in your district is failing, you should have an alternative. I’m a big school choice advocate and firmly believe that market competition would go a long way towards improving public education.

  • oknow

    what i want to know is what is the problem w/sending the children to school in the father’s district.. i could see she was using the address of a cousin, aunt or uncle but it was the children’s other parent.. what, does the father have to have physical custody in order for their children to go to that district? i would do joint custody, give the father physical custody and her children should then still be able to attend that school!!

    Ridiculous.. u want to set an example.. that judge should be thrown off the bench..

    • Me27

      They were using her father’s address (the children’s grandfather).

      But I agree, the judge should be thrown off the bench

  • tdavillier

    Thank you for giving this story the attention that is so needed! This story is bigger than the face that’s on it. God Bless her.

  • minna k.

    I signed the petition. Thank you for sharing this important story. I am so glad that it is getting international attention.

  • what a world we live it when concepts like “grand theft of school services” exist and parents have to be warned against wanting a better education for the children.

    isn’t the right to education part of the American constitution – not that, that would make any difference.