Education is vital to the solid upbringing of a child. Whether parents choose to homeschool their children, foot the bill for a private or parochial school, or go with the public school available in their area of residency, it’s incredibly important that they value education.
Sadly, a lot of parents don’t … and sometimes those that do find themselves between the proverbial rock and hard place, as is the case with Ohio’s Kelly Williams-Bolar, a single mom recently sentenced to 10 days in jail for lying about her residency so her daughters could attend a well-regarded school instead of where they should have been going based on their living situation in public housing.
Four years ago, Williams-Bolar, 40, sent her girls, now 12 and 16, to the Copley-Fairlawn school district that was outside her Akron district of residence, reports said. Her father lives in the Copley-Fairlawn district, and she said she lived with him part-time after her home was burglarized and she wanted her children safe.
“When my home got broken into, I felt it was my duty to do something else,” Williams-Bolar said, according to ABC.
Williams-Bolar, ironically a college student in the field of education, has been accused by the Copley-Fairlawn district of “lying about her address, falsifying records and having her father file false court papers to circumvent the rules.” The district requested tuition to the tune of $30,000, an amount Williams-Bolar was unwilling to pay.
While I understand, appreciate, and even respect Williams-Bolar’s intent here, a $30,000 settlement with the school would have been more than fair. While her father might have paid taxes to the school district, she did not. She cheated the system, she got caught, and she did not take the out that was offered her.
While I realize that $30,000 is a lot of money, it sort of cheapens the principle of her point that she refused to meet the district that she’d swindled halfway.
Oh, and after being convicted of tampering with records on January 15th, Williams-Bolar had the audacity to tell the judge that there was no intention of deceiving the school. Come on, please! No intention? Are you stupid, lady?
I can totally see why you did what you did. I can. You wanted what was best for your kids, and I can relate to that 100%. But to tell a judge that this wasn’t an intentional act on your part? No wonder people are outraged.
And, in a jailhouse interview given last week, Williams-Bolar as much as admitted that she’d lied to the judge.
“If I had the opportunity, if I had to do it all over again, would I have done it?” she said. After pausing, she answered: “I would have done it again. But I would have been more detailed. … I think they wanted to make an example of me.”
Is she right on this? Some people, including the presiding judge, Patricia Cosgrove, don’t deny that. However, it was necessary to draw a line in the sand in terms of families defrauding public school systems, and this was an ideal opportunity.
I think what pisses me off the most here, beyond her lying about it being “unintentional,” is that Williams-Bolar lived in public housing. You, me, and every other Joe or Jane Taxpayer essentially paid her rent. If you’re in need of welfare benefits, Ms. Williams-Bolar, then you’re going to have to put your children in the school where those welfare benefits place you.
I’m not unsympathetic. I was a single mother working three jobs while going to college full-time at one point in my life. I slept about three hours a day and kept my daughter’s future in the forefront of my mind when the going got tough instead of trying to cheat the system. You have to make tough choices sometimes, and it really sucks when it’s to the detriment of your kids. Because I was always working or in class, my daughter spent far more time at day care or with a babysitter than I would have liked. It was a rough few years, but I bit the bullet with an overall picture of the end result in the back of my mind.
And how about other options? If her district school was so awful, why didn’t she try to find a private school to educate her children? Most private schools have good financial aid packages if there is a need, and if your children meet the often-stringent academic requirements. Or, even better, how about working with the Copley-Fairlawn district once you were caught? They were willing to work with you …
Copley-Fairlawn Superintendent Brian Poe said the district has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars because of children illegally enrolled in its schools. The cases are usually resolved by parents proving they live in the district, taking their kids out of the schools, or paying tuition of about $800 a month, the station reported.
$800 a month is significant, but if your kids’ education is that important to you, you’d find a way to do it instead of trying to backdoor it. A lot of districts wouldn’t even offer this as an option, particularly considering the circumstances.
Anyway, Williams-Bolar shot herself in the foot even more egregiously here. As a convicted felon, she cannot become a certified teacher … so all the time and money she’s put into her own college education has likewise been essentially wasted.
I hate to say it because, like I said, I have to respect someone who is so very invested in her children receiving a quality education, but in my opinion, Kelly Williams-Bolar ultimately got what she deserved.