Opinion on "Mom Jailed for Enrolling Kids in Wrong School District"

12:21 PM

I'm not sure how many of you have read this CNN article, which describes the felony conviction single mother and aspiring teacher Kelley Williams-Bolar received for putting down her father's address, instead of her own, and as a result enrolling her children in a better school. I find the felony conviction to be completely unjust.

Imagine that you are Williams-Bolar, a parent hoping for a better future for her children. What are your choices? Of course, you have your home school district of Akron--which is  meeting only four out of twenty-six state standards, has a 76% graduation rate, and is poor and urban. Or you have the tantalizingly nearby, wealthy suburban district (Copley-Fairlawn), which meets 26 out of 26 standards and has a 97.5% graduation rate. Can we really call her a felon for hoping for a better education for her kids?

According to the article, the Copley-Fairlawn superintendent "denied that Williams-Bolar was singled out because she is black and the Copley-Fairlawn district is 75% white." I find it to be incredibly sad, however, that we have in so many ways a segregated school system--no longer so evidently by rules of law, but rather by rules of housing and taxation and economics. For instance, you'd be hard-pressed to find more than a handful African-Americans or Native Americans at any of my local schools on the Puget Sound's Eastside. We have a high graduation rate...that seems to coordinate suspiciously to high housing prices and thus property taxes. On the other hand, poor urban areas don't create much revenue for school districts, meaning that they have fewer resources.

The worst part about this whole situation is that the mother, who is only12 credits away from earning her teacher's degree, will now be barred from teaching in the state of Ohio.

This is how America rewards those who are trying to educate themselves and their children?

Please write to Copley-Fairlawn Superintendent Brian Poe with your opinion:

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6 comments

  1. The fact that the district has handled this repeatedly without bringing litigation does call their actions into question. What about the real story? Is this really a story about stretching residency realities on an application form?

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  2. That is incredibly unfair. Anyways, nice to see you back! :)

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  3. Anonymous9:48 PM

    she can still teach; she would just need to file and be approved for a good will exception.

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  4. It's one thing to say, "There's a limited amount of money in Copley, we can't provide for everyone else in northeast Ohio too. Sorry, we need to follow the rules."

    It's another thing entirely to say that the mom should be convicted of a felony. And I don't see how you could say that if you're not at least also calling for a whole lot of school superintendents, principals, city council members, etc in Akron to be convicted of felonies too for making that school district fall so far short of already minimalist standards. There's a much bigger crime going on here.

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  5. It's one thing to say, "There's a limited amount of money in Copley, we can't provide for everyone else in northeast Ohio too. Sorry, we need to follow the rules."

    It's another thing entirely to say that the mom should be convicted of a felony. And I don't see how you could say that if you're not at least also calling for a whole lot of school superintendents, principals, city council members, etc in Akron to be convicted of felonies too for making that school district fall so far short of already minimalist standards. There's a much bigger crime going on here.

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  6. Anonymous9:25 PM

    The fact of the matter is she broke the law. Even if the law is in the wrong (and I do believe it is), no man, women, or child is above it. I'm sure you've read the book Of Beatles and Angles. So I'm sure you know that a bright mind can come from anywhere, no matter the school district. The fact of the matter is, she broke the law. It's an ethics conundrum, but there are consequences to every action.

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