In Ohio, a parole board did not sympathize with how much a mother is willing to do to protect her children.
On Friday, the Ohio Parole Board recommended that Ohio Governor John Kasich not pardon Kelley Williams-Bolar, who was jailed for nine days for using her father’s address to enroll her children in a neighboring school district.
"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," the board stated in a unanimous ruling. "Most parents find legitimate and legal options to address this issue. Ms. Williams-Bolar's only response was to be deceitful."
Williams-Bolar, a single mother and resident of Akron, Ohio, said that she was worried about leaving her daughters at home because their home had previously been broken into. She said that her neighborhood's lack of safety was her main concern when she enrolled her daughters, whose residency was questioned in 2007 when they were 9 and 13 years old, in the Copley-Fairlawn school district in Ohio.
Since 2005, at least 47 illegal student attendance conflicts have been solved, but the school district was unable to reach a resolution with Williams-Bolar, whose case was turned over to prosecutors.
The case received national attention and support from civil rights and community activists, who argued that Williams-Bolar's sentencing was too severe. The felony, now on her permanent record, precludes her from following through on future plans to become a teacher.
ColorOfChange.org, which petitioned for Williams-Bolar’s pardon, says that they will continue to lobby on Williams-Bolar’s behalf until the governor makes the ultimate decision.
"The parole board's lack of empathy is astounding, and now the decision rests fully with Gov. Kasich," Executive Director Rashad Robinson told the Huffington Post. “"The ColorOfChange.org community was deeply moved by the story of Kelley Williams-Bolar. Many parents all around the country would act just as she did if it meant a safe, secure experience for their children and peace of mind with regard to their education."
Williams-Bolar’s oldest daughter now attends an Akron public high school, while her youngest daughter received a voucher to attend a private middle school.
"I love my kids and I would have done anything for my children," the emotional mother told the board.
Stay tuned to BET.com for Gov. John Kasich's final verdict in Kelley Williams-Bolar's case.
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(Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESSAP)