From Black Voices — Most of us at BlackVoices are familiar with the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar, the Ohio mother of two who was sent to jail for sending her children to the “wrong” school district. Williams-Bolar was sentenced to 10 days in jail, three years probation and community service for using her father’s address to avoid sending her kids to the school she considered to be dangerous and inadequate. At AOL BlackVoices, we were one of the first to hit the issue nationally, and fortunately, other media outlets are starting to take notice.
In addition to being sent to jail, Williams-Bolar and her father are being charged with fourth-degree grand theft of school services. As a consequence of her conviction, Williams-Bolar will never be allowed to teach in the state of Ohio, which is the profession she was pursing. The judge also made it clear that she was sending Williams-Bolar to jail as an example for other parents thinking about doing the same thing.
The case sparked a firestorm of national controversy and conversation about educational inequality and the notion that a mother had to break the law in order to give her daughters access to a quality education. Millions of parents expressed support for Williams-Bolar, for they too could recall their own parents making the same sacrifices for them. There have been Facebook groups created to support Williams-Bolar and change.org has created a petition on her behalf to have her record expunged. The petition drew nearly 20,000 signatures over a three-day period and is growing by the second.
Yesterday, I got a call from CNN’s ‘AC360,’ and it appears that we will get the chance to talk about the Williams-Bolar case on the show tonight. This is in addition to other media outlets from as far as Japan that have called me about the matter. I was happy to see the national media pick up this story because it is far bigger than one person. It is really about addressing the fundamental human rights violations that lead to a two-tiered racialized reality in America when it comes to our economic, educational and criminal justice systems.