Kelley Williams-Bolar, an Ohio mother who was charged with larceny and record tampering earlier this year when she falsified her home address to get her daughters into a better public school, has been denied a request for pardon by an Ohio parole board, the AP reports.
Early this year Williams-Bolar spent ten days in jail when school officials found that she had used her father’s address in a neighboring school district to get her daughters into a better school. Her sentence included three years of probation and 80 hours of community service. While her theft charges were eventually dropped—school officials said she “stole” more than $30,000 worth of public education—she was convicted of records tampering. In her appeal, Williams-Bolar, who was close to getting her teaching certificate, said that the conviction threatened her career as an educator. Now, the board has ruled that the conviction will stand.
From the AP:
The board said Williams-Bolar could have solved her schooling situation legitimately and was dishonest before and after her conviction.
“Ms. Williams-Bolar was faced with a no more difficult situation than any other working parent who must ensure that their children are safe during, before and after school hours in their absence,” it said in its unanimous ruling. “Most parents find legitimate and legal options to address this issue. Ms. Williams-Bolar’s only response was to be deceitful.”
The board also rejected Williams-Bolar’s arguments that her conviction harmed her future plans, noting that she has hardly made the efforts necessary to obtain a degree to teach.
Williams-Bolar had told the parole board in July that she was remorseful for lying and would do things differently if given the chance.
“I love my kids and I would have done anything for my children,” an emotional Williams-Bolar told the board.
Williams-Bolar’s conviction is but one of a series of headline-grabbing harsh prosecutions of black moms this year. Like Williams-Bolar, these black moms, all of them poor, have just been trying to get by and raise their kids.