Friday, January 28, 2011

Public Schools Not So Public- Fed Up Friday

It seems that my home state is giving me tons of fodder for this blog lately. First this foolishness and now a mother in Akron jailed because she wanted to send her children to a better school district. Wow.

You read that right- a mom who took her kids to a school district located about three miles from her house was sentenced to ten days in jail, three years of probation and hours of community service, after being found guilty of a felony. You know what her felonious action was? She used her father's address so that her daughters could attend school in the neighboring district because she feared for their safety. Ok, I am not really sure how many of you have traveled to Akron, Ohio recently, but the city itself (while full of good people) is not much to look at. Hell, in parts of Akron, I am scared to walk around by myself. This lady's house was broken into, and she subsequently decided to make sure her children would be safe at school, and she is being punished? I have to say it again- wow.

The Copley-Fairlawn School District said that the mother (Kelley Williams-Bolar) was cheating the system by lying about her address so that her children could essentially invade a school district that was not meant for them. They said that her "daughters received a quality education without paying taxes to fund it" even though Akron public schools and Copley-Fairlawn schools are in the same county AND Ms. Williams-Bolar's father does actually live in the Copley-Fairlawn school district. So her father was (and still is) paying taxes for that education received AND Ms. Williams-Bolar, who is employed was paying Summit County taxes, state of Ohio taxes, property taxes and income taxes... Isn't No Child Left Behind supposed to make sure that public school education in America is equal across districts, no matter what taxes are paid? Is this situation just highlighting what all of us already seem to know: inner city schools and their students are doomed to be less than, simply because their parents cannot pay to live in the ritzy suburbs? Is this just this century's version of separate but equal? If it is, isn't it just further slanting the playing field?

Was what she did wrong? Yes, sneaking your children into another school district IS, in fact, wrong. Should she have been jailed? Absolutely not. That is extreme. The woman is 12 credit hours away from being a licensed teacher in the state of Ohio, and now that goal is threatened because after this fiasco she has a felony record. WTF?!!?

Judge Patricia Cosgrove said at sentencing that she "felt that some punishment or deterrent was needed for other individuals who might to think to defraud the various school districts." Really? So you have a single mother trying to care for and teach her daughters, who is employed and you what? Possibly take away her only source of income and essentially tell her daughters that their education and safety is not as important as the kids three miles away? Good lesson, Judge Cosgrove. Cosgrove, who has three children, four grandchildren and participates in the reEntry Court Program for convicted felons (helps with transition from prison by addressing issues of employment, housing and substance abuse), could not for one minute put herself in the shoes of this woman who was trying to make a way for her children? In a day and age where some women are too strung out to care for their children, pimp out their kids, abuse their children, sell drugs in the presence of their children, or simply abandon their children.... this is the woman that is punished by the system? This is the woman we make an example of?
Damn, what a world we live in, huh? 


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