Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Black Mom Jailed for Sending Kids to White School—Grandpa Guilty of Stealing White Kids’ Education

Kelly Williams-Bolar of Ohio was sentenced to 10 days in jail and placed on three year’s probation for sending her kids to a school district in which they did not live. She was convicted before a jury of felony tampering with court records after registering her two girls as living with her father, who lives in a more affluent neighborhood, when they actually lived with her, in a housing project in Akron. Her father, Edward L. Williams, was charged with fourth-degree felony grand theft for stealing two years of educational services for their girls. The court determined that sending their girls to the wrong school was worth $30,500.

The courts neglected to subtract out the value of the education the girls would have received at their assigned school, which was likely much less than $30,000. Even so, this case clearly reveals the role of education as a mechanism for reproducing and maintaining existing social relations, contrary to the myth that it is the “great equalizer.” Better schools are worth more precisely because they exist in communities where families make more money, (even if they pay lower property tax rates there), and consequently pump out higher numbers of successful graduates. They have more resources, more active parent organizations and more effective fund-raising. These are the schools that produce the future bosses and CEOs. Lower income children are not wanted at these schools, not only out of fear that they would bring down test scores and take away resources and privileges from the well off kids, but because the system must regenerate low level and unskilled laborers, as well as future bosses and CEOs.

Ironically, Williams-Bolar had been in school studying to become a teacher herself, so she could provide a better life for her kids. Under Ohio law, she is now forbidden from receiving her teaching credential, as Ohio bans convicts from teaching. We certainly wouldn’t want someone like her corrupting our youth, now, would we?

Angus Johnston, of Student Activism, wrote, “I live in New York City, where school placement is a bit of an obsession. This kind of gaming of the system is rampant among well-off white families here, and I’ve never heard of anyone being jailed for it—much less convicted of a felony.”

The situation in California is similar. Competition is fierce, especially in cities like San Francisco, and a variety of scams are common to ensure that privileged kids get into the better schools. Rarely do any middle class parents get busted, let alone have serious consequences. The result is a virtual Apartheid system, where the schools west of Twin Peaks tend to have much affluent students and higher test scores than those that are east of Twin Peaks.


  1. Speechless - hard to find a more clear example of schools and courts acting as mechanisms of social control.

  2. I hope some good attorney takes this to the supreme court! Coming from a state that has open enrollment - what is the crime in wanting something better for your children? It certainly should not destroy a future and prevent someone from becoming a teacher! Obviously this woman values a good educator and likely would be terrific in the classroom! Ohio law need to be changed retro-actively.

  3. That article doesn't give all the info. There were 100 families under investigation. There were 3 that chose to pay the tuition. The rest either proved they lived in the district or admitted they did wrong. Nothing happened to any of them. Kelly Williams-Bolar refused to admit to wrong doing and continued to "try" and defraud the school district. That's why she got convicted of a felony and was sent to jail. Had she admitted to wrong doing.... She'd be at home with her children and "nothing" would have happened to her.

    Here's a news video http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/mom-jailed-for-sending-kids-to-better-school-12766049

  4. Thanks for the update, Anon. It seems to be true that many were busted and "proved" their innocence. It would be really interesting to know their race and class and the details of their "proof." Many no doubt were legal residents of that district. However, all over the country, privileged parents engage in scams and deceptions to get their kids in the better schools.

    Also, the school district paid a private dick $6000 to spy on Williams-Bolar, something they probably did not do for the 96 who "proved their innocence.

    Lastly, there is no such thing as tuition for public school. If a person lives in the district, they simply go to the school. Most districts do not have an "out of district" tuition. Maybe this one does. I couldn't find this info when I researched it. Nevertheless, if you don't own property you contribute little or nothing to your local district, but can still go. Funding comes from property taxes, with the state and feds kicking in a little extra. This notion of paying back the "stolen tuition is essentially extortion: Pay us or go to jail.

  5. Apparently there is a "tuition" for "public schools"
    At least, there is if you're living out of the district and they don't have an "open enrollment".
    The school referred to in Ohio doesn't have an open enrollment, so if you live out of the district..... You have to pay an 800 dollar per month tuition. I'm guessing that tuition is "per child". So, technically, this mom was stealing 1600 per month from said school/district.
    BTW She isn't the first to be charged with a felony for doing this. She's probably just the first to go to court.
    Here's another link for another felony charge, for a different mom, in a different state.