Are better schools worth felony charges?

An Ohio mother, Kelley Williams-Bolar, falsified school registration documents, so that her children could attend school in the (better) neighboring Copley-Fairlawn school district. Williams-Bolar stated that her two children lived with her father in the neighboring town; he was also charged.

The Akron City school district only met 4 of 26 standards on the Ohio state report card and has a 76% graduation rate. In comparison, Copley-Fairlawn City Schools met 26 of 26 standards and has a 97.5% graduation rate. (http://ilrc.ode.state.oh.us/)

After a $6,000 investigation, charges were pressed and the mother was convicted on a felony charge for grand theft (for the cost of tuition), sentenced to 5 years in jail (suspended to 10 days with 3 years of probation), and 80 hours of community service.

Williams-Bolar is a teaching assistant and in the process of completing the education requirements to become a teacher. With the felony charges, Williams-Bolar will not be able to teach in the state of Ohio.

Should this woman have broken the law? Not necessarily. Should all schools provide equitable educational opportunities? Yes. Should admission to a good school depend on the zip code of your residence? No. Should a mother who recognizes that her children deserve a better education be forced to choose between her future and theirs? No.

“I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Read more: Ohio.com, CNN, change.org

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