In 2011, Kelley Williams-Bolar was jailed for sending her two daughters to a school in a predominantly white school district where her father lived.
The family had lived in an Ohio housing project, with their neighborhood lacking quality schools. Now, Williams-Bolar is expected to reveal a more in-depth look behind-the scenes with the release of her upcoming book, The Kelley Williams-Bolar Story.
Her children were enrolled for two years until the school district filed criminal charges against her for enrolling her children in a school district where she was not a legal resident. Williams-Bolar, like many of her supporters, to this day, asserts that the charges were racially motivated.
“There weren’t that many minorities out there,” Williams-Bolar says. “This was their way to narrow down our enrollment. I didn’t hear them say that, but at the same time there were only a sprinkle [of non-White students].”
Williams-Bolar’s father, Edward L. Williams, was charged with a fourth-degree felony of grand theft, in which he and his daughter were charged with defrauding the school system for two years of educational services for their girls despite the fact that Edward Williams was a legal resident of the neighborhood.
The court ruled that sending their children to the school was worth $30,500 in tuition. Williams-Bolar was held liable for the repayment. She was sentenced to ten days in jail and her felony charges were later changed to misdemeanors after national outrage in response to the verdict.
Williams-Bolar’s father was still being held on charges related to the investigation, later dying in prison in 2012. She has found work in her field of education, and has been able to enroll one of her daughters in private school. She is currently struggling to pay tuition.
The Kelley Williams-Bolar Story is available for purchase at childsreign.org.
Quality education is meant to be for everyone. With punishments like this it’s hard to see that. How can we continue to demand the best education for our youth?
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