Click here to listen to the Kelley Williams-Bolar update with Roland Martin.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Kelley Williams-Bolar, of Akron, served nine days in jail earlier this year for falsifying information on records that she used to send her daughters to Copley-Fairlawn schools.
She said her conviction on two felony records tampering counts had threatened her efforts to earn her teacher’s license. Gov. John Kasich agreed, reducing the convictions to two misdemeanors.
“When I first heard about this situation, it seemed to me that the penalty was excessive for the offense,” the governor said in a statement. “In addition, the penalty could exclude her from certain economic opportunities for the rest of her life.”
But the governor’s action also came with a warning.
“No one should interpret this as a pass — it’s a second chance,” Kasich said.
Kasich is requiring Williams-Bolar to report for probation, serve 80 hours of community service, work full time, not take any drugs or drink alcohol and pay the cost of her prosecution.
Kasich’s order was a rare departure from the recommendation of the Ohio Parole Board, which said unanimously last week that Kasich should leave Williams-Bolar’s conviction in place.
Her attorney on Wednesday praised Kasich for bucking the board.
“It took a lot of courage for Gov. Kasich to do so in the face of a unanimous parole board recommendation that clemency be denied, and we applaud him for that,” said David Singleton, executive director of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center.
Singleton said the decision will make it easier for Williams-Bolar to keep her job as a teacher’s aide and to ultimately apply to have the conviction struck from her record.
Williams-Bolar 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,” she told the board.
Prosecutors defended the felony charges, saying Williams-Bolar willingly broke the law by using her father’s address and misrepresenting other information on school documents for the Copley-Fairlawn district. Officials there challenged her daughters’ residency in 2007, when they were 9 and 13 years old.
Summit County chief assistant prosecutor Brad Gessner told the parole board that Williams-Bolar engaged in a pattern of deception when it came to falsifying documents. Gessner said she had options when school officials questioned her about her residency but instead changed her address on her driver’s license and bank and employment documents.
Williams-Bolar’s older daughter now attends an Akron public high school, while her younger daughter got a voucher to go to a private middle school. Williams-Bolar continues to work as a teacher’s assistant at Akron public schools.
The case drew national attention as a high-profile example of schools getting tougher on parents who improperly send their children to other districts, usually with better-funded and higher-performing schools. Some people were outraged by Williams-Bolar’s dishonesty. Others believed her prosecution and punishment were too severe.
Kasich has used the case to highlight expanded access to educational alternatives, including vouchers, and it became a rallying point for advocates of school choice.
Williams-Bolar, a single mother, said safety was her main concern when she enrolled her daughters in the Copley-Fairlawn district. She also said she was worried about leaving her daughters home alone because someone had broken in.
The parole board dismissed that concern in last week’s ruling, saying Williams-Bolar failed to explore several options to solve a problem faced by many working parents.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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