I always consider myself fortunate when it comes to my schooling growing up. People can make fun of Norwalk all they want but it was a pretty good school system. Especially given the fact that I was only one of a handful of minority students there. We could have had it much worse at a lesser school had we lived in the wrong part of a bigger city. That's why I can certainly understand when a parent does something like what Kelley Williams-Bolar did.
Williams decided to bend the truth about her residency to get her daughters enrolled in a better school district. She used the children's father's address in the Copley-Fairlawn School District where their father lived as opposed to Akron school district where they actually resided. All because she wanted to have her daughters attending a safer school. One small problem with that though: it was illegal since she wasn't paying taxes for that district. When she refused to pay the $30,000 in back tuition, she was sentenced to 10 days in jail.
I can understand the school's argument that Williams may appeared to have been committing a fraud by falsifying her records. I guess one way of looking at it was that her daughters were receiving a quality education without paying for it. However, that would be taking a very literal approach. There were some other factors that should have been considered.
She was using their father's address. So what if they didn't live their full-time? He was their natural father. He was paying the taxes in that district. It's not like his daughters lived out-of-state. They lived in a neighboring school district. His children should be allowed to attend that school as long as he was legally a resident in that district. I don't care if the mother was a resident there or not. At some point the school should have exercised some common sense in that regards.
I certainly don't see any problem at all with what Williams did. She wanted a better education for her than what their current school district could provide. It was evident they didn't want to step up their school system (or didn't have the means to) so she pursued other means to provide for her children. Any good parent would have done the same thing. For that she's okay in my book. I don't consider what she did stealing at all. All she was doing was allocating her resources.
The entities that should be ashamed of themselves is the school district for pursuing charges and the judge who sentenced her. A woman judge at that. If they were intent on punishing her for her actions then they could have easily just given her some type of probation with community service. But nine days in jail AND probation and community service just because she was getting a better education for her children?? There are criminals who have committed REAL crimes who have gotten less.
We already know that several of our school districts around the country are severely lacking. They certainly didn't need something like this to draw more attention to it. They could have very quietly resolved this situation by not trying to make an example of Williams. They should have went the opposite route and tried to help this single mother attempting to raise two children. Kudos to Ms. Williams for doing what she had to do to offer her children a better future. It's not her fault that the state of Ohio apparently cares very little about its future.