What in the hell is wrong with this country? I ask this question again as I read about a respected member of her community who has never been in trouble being charged with a felony and convicted and sentenced to two years in jail on two counts of tampering with records. Her real crime. Wanting to get her kids the best education that is available in this country. Her real crime, her Zip Code numbers are wrong. That's all.!
(Originally posted by Scanner on Open Salon, February 7, 2011, more details below)
Kelly Williams-Bolar from Akron, Ohio lied about where she lived to get her kids into a better school. The judge suspended the two years, but still sentenced her to pull 10 days in the county jail and do 80 hours of community service, along with various other cost-straining things like probation. She used her fathers address instead of her own to get her kids a better education. While this may be a lack of judgement by this woman who is herself a teachers aide and works in the school system herself, does she really deserve jail time?
She could very well lose her teaching license and her job over something that at most should have been a slap on the hand. I hate to yell "racist" here, but if there is another word, fill me in. African-Americans make lower wages, live in school districts with lower property taxes and therefore go to schools that in comparison to the white and affluent schools are a disgrace. It's true in Akron and just as true where I live. I've seen this first hand and I have yet to see one white person convicted of the same thing in my area of the country.
This is from the Columbian Spectator:
According to a UCLA study, American schools are now more segregated by class and race than they were in 1954, when the Brown v. Board of Education decision was made. A Harvard study found that, while only 4 percent of white students attend schools where the poverty rate exceeds 80 percent, 43 percent of Latinos and African Americans do. In a country where school funding is determined by district property taxes, this means that the average student of color receives an education of considerably lesser quality than the one afforded to their white counterparts. The National Assessment of Education Progress has confirmed that this system produces better test results amongst white students countrywide.
This isn't racist? If public schools are mostly funded by state and federal governments, why should a person of color, and I mention Latin-Americans along with others in this, have to go to inferior schools. When my son was in elementary school I had to do the same thing, along with hundreds of other parents, both white and black, who carried their kids to school everyday. My wife or I carried him to a school in another district because the one that was in our area was over-crowded, under-funded and truthfully, the teachers were just better. Why should a parent be prosecuted for wanting to give their kids a better education?
The year after my son graduated from this school, they had a major crackdown and parents had to have proof their kids lived in the same school district. Not just an envelope like we used, but solid-proof of some kind. But, not one person had to go to jail. Not one person to my knowledge was even charged. It was common knowledge. Even the teachers had their kids in the same school they taught in, which was just as illegal. Just because they taught there, the law applies to them as well.
Were is the common sense that should be the first thing used in something like this? The prisons are filled with these petty cases while people who use violence in a crime or sex offenders are running the streets. Cells are filled with drug offenders whose only crime is they were caught buying pot. You want to laugh this is so silly but you can't. Since Ronald Reagan started the war on drugs, millions have been locked up and billions and billions of dollars spent building prisons. I read where we've spent over a trillions dollars so far on the war on drugs and we are worse off than we began. What a joke!
Fortunately, for Ms. Williams-Bolar, the Ohio-Justice and Policy center is taking her case pro-bono. Again, from the Columbian Spectator:
"Now she's got two felony convictions and she's at risk of losing her job as a teacher, teaching special-needs kids. That's just way out of proportion to what it is she was found to have done wrong,'' Singleton told the Beacon Journal. ''Prosecutors have enormous discretion, and this is a case that, I would say respectfully, should not have been prosecuted."
All info from these various sources:
Originally posted at Throwing School Mom in Jail~ although it won't be available there much longer it can be confirmed by those who have access to Google archives or other archives.
Kenneth Sibbett posted under the user name, Scanner and was one of the most popular people on Open Salon. It will be a loss for his work not to be available to the public along with a lot of other good articles that are coming down soon. This is one of my favorites of his and I hate to see to go, even if I can't attract the attention to it that he did. Hope he's doing well.