Petition to Pardon Kelley Williams-Bolar

Please consider signing this petition at calling on Governor Kasich of Ohio to pardon Williams-Bolar for unfair sentencing.

I was infuriated yesterday when I visited The Boyce Blog (via Racialicious’s daily link roundup) to learn about a black woman in Ohio, Kelley Williams-Bolar, who is being sent to jail for sending her children to the wrong school district.  Dr. Boyce Watkins of Syracuse writes, “She was convicted on two counts of tampering with court records after registering her two girls as living with Williams-Bolar’s father when they actually lived with her. The family lived in the housing projects in Akron, Ohio, and the father’s address was in nearby Copley Township. Additionally, Williams-Bolar’s father, Edward L. Williams, was charged with a fourth-degree felony of grand theft, in which he and his daughter are charged with defrauding the school system for two years of educational services for their girls. The court determined that sending their children to the wrong school was worth $30,500 in tuition.”

Dr. Boyce offered further analysis:

[I]t’s interesting how courts find it convenient to make someone into an example when they happen to be poor and black. I’d love to see how they prosecute wealthy white women who commit the same offense. Oh, I forgot: Most wealthy white women don’t have to send their kids to the schools located near the projects.

I’m not sure why the court is treating this law-abiding mom like a thug who ran into a building with a shotgun and robbed the district of $30,000. Instead, they could simply subtract the amount it costs for her kids to go to the second school from the amount that would be spent for them to attend the first one. I’m sure the difference would still be substantial, since American educational apartheid dictates that schools in poorer neighborhoods are of significantly less quality than other schools. The racial divisions within American schools are nothing less than a blatant and consistent human rights violation and should certainly be treated as such.

The article on points out that Ms. Williams-Bolar had nearly completed educational requirements to become a teacher in Ohio, and now will be unable to do so as a convicted felon.  What’s horrifying is that the judge, Patricia Cosgrove, was well aware of this at sentencing, saying, “Because of the felony conviction, you will not be allowed to get your teaching degree under Ohio law as it stands today. The court’s taking into consideration that is also a punishment that you will have to serve.”

Please remember to sign the petition at! And spread the word.

–Rosamund Hunter

7 thoughts on “Petition to Pardon Kelley Williams-Bolar

  1. I wish this woman the best. No one in their right mind should fault you for putting your children first. I think you are an amazing mother and should be commended for your parental concern. We need more people in this country to care as much as you. The law should be more concerned about the poor quality of the school in your district! Let’s see the administrators take some responsibility and get their acts together before casting stones.

  2. You are seeing this message because a comment was deleted. While we hope to facilitate healthy dialogue with a multitude of perspectives and opinions, we support the maintaining of a safer space for a discussion free of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, and other oppressions.

  3. Go Roz! Making me proud as always. Ben linked me to this post after I brought up the whole ordeal on fb. It’s ridiculous and needs way more attention. This woman’s career is now in jeopardy because of what? Trying to get her kids out of the ghetto? Unreal.

  4. It’s infuriating that in this unfair treatment, any acknowledgment of Black women’s political economy is left out. We’ve seen so many links come up in our ‘link roundup’ about single motherhood and the debilitating poverty it can bring for women of color in particular.

  5. We can send Quanell X up there to help her….. I’d be glad to get him out of Houston and out of Texas for awhile. But, if it would truly help her case then I would be all for it! Punishing her for wanting her girls to receive a quality education is absolutely ludicrous!!!! The judge in this case should be ashamed of himself! OK, she was wrong – I’ll go along with that – but her punishement and fining her $30K?????? Come on….. Where on God’s green earth does it cost $30K to send your kids to PUBLIC school? I’ll bet if she had that much money, those girls would have been in a private school! Get real, your Honor – quit trying to make an examply of this woman… I guess the power done went to your head didn’t it?

  6. What a joke – the home of white coller crime and you want to pick on someone who was forced to “commit a crime”. The question is why did she do it? We all know the answer – she wanted a better life for her childern. Fix the school and fix the system. Now we have kids with out a mother. Get real go find some real “crime”. Kelley you are a great mom

  7. Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it’s truly informative. I am going to watch out for brussels. I will appreciate if you continue this in future. Many people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

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