Ohio mother jailed for sending her kids to a better school

Just when you think Western society cannot get any stranger, you read that an Ohio mother was jailed for ten days and given three years probation because she chose to send her children to a better school than the one in her downtoan Akron neighbourhood — an area that was plagued by drugs and crime.

Obviously,  the local Akron authorities don’t understand the notion of freedom of movement and a parent’s right to try and provide her kids with a way out of the poverty trap.  And, trap it obviously is. What is especially shocking is that this didn’t happen in some Middle East or African dictatorship. It happened in the “land of the free” — in the United States of America where Barack Obama is President.  

Read the whole article. It makes us appreciate the notion of open boundaries and parent choice all that much more. Imagine! The downtown Akron Ohio school district actually hired a private eye to videotape Kelley Williams-Bolar “driving into the predominantly white district to deliver the children to school.”

So, who, I wonder, complained to the authorities and why are they trying to make an example out of this woman? For any Americans reading this post, I would recommend they send a complaint to their Congressman and Senator — no matter where they live. This is 2011 and that type of rigidity and lack of freedom should not be allowed anywhere in what is supposed to be the land of the free — particularly if  you are poor and black and can’t afford to move.

11 thoughts on “Ohio mother jailed for sending her kids to a better school

  1. I read about this story and it includes she avoided the property taxes that are due in the range of $ 23k. She used the address of the father to get them in the school.

    I don’t know how it works with busing, grants, vouchers in the U.S.


  2. CanadianSense — I would assume her father paid his taxes or, if he is renting, his landlord. There would be no reason to pay taxes twice. Moreover, her landlord where she lives downtown is paying taxes. It’s not like she is sending her kids to two different school districts at the same time. I find the whole matter discrimination based on financial status, more than colour. Either way, it’s disgusting in this day and age. Someone complained and that to me is the larger story. Why?


  3. Would white mom or pop face similar sanctions if they crossed school district boundaries so their B’Ball star son could get onto a team with better prospects?

    Or is it merely that Mom in the above story happens to not be white?? And where the hell is Barry and the rest of the Black Washington Pols on this file??





  4. Will write about our local option later this week — called DSBN Academy, a grade 6 to 12 school.

    An alternative? Yes. But, not really about choice unless the parent is poor and doesn’t mind their kids being labelled as such.

    In other words, it is about putting 500+ poor children together under one roof in Welland in the old Empire School building. Some are likening it to the Africentric School in Toronto but it appears to be more about economic status than anything else. Meaning, choice for whom. If a majority of the children are black or children of immigrants, what is that going to communicate to the families and the community?

    Outsiders may not understand what it really is about. A sociology prof at Brock was interviewed in the St. Catharines Standard in yesterday’s (Saturday) paper (he is against it) and here is an article about OSSTF withdrawing their support.

    Hey, I grew up poor with a single mother and I have to tell you I would have felt humiliated to be labelled disadvantaged and sent to a special school where do-gooders tried to improve my life. Instead, I went to a Catholic all-girls high school in Ottawa and mingled with girls whose families represented all walks of life. That is what gave me a head start!

    So, poor kids in St. Catharines will be picked up in a yellow bus to be taken to Welland — taking away their neighbourhood connection.

    Choice then only if the parent or parents are considered poor.


  5. Apparently there is more to the story than meets the eye. Conservative blogs in the U.S. have pointed out that the woman is allegedly facing criminal charges for tax evasion and welfare fraud. She could easily have sent those children legally to the school they attended by making their grandfather a legal guardian. End of problem.

    News media are all too commonly perveyors of the sensational rather than the nuanced and factual and this may be one such case. It’s wise to remember the late Michael Crichton’s description of the “Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect” which he explained in a wonderful speech (unfortunately no longer online) entitled “Why Speculate?”

    The golden kernal of the piece read as follows:

    Media carries with it a credibility that is totally undeserved. You have all experienced this, in what I call the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. (I refer to it by this name because I once discussed it with Murray Gell-Mann, and by dropping a famous name I imply greater importance to myself, and to the effect, than it would otherwise have.)
    Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

    In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

    That is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I’d point out it does not operate in other arenas of life. In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means untruthful in one part, untruthful in all. But when it comes to the media, we believe against evidence that it is probably worth our time to read other parts of the paper. When, in fact, it almost certainly isn’t. The only possible explanation for our behavior is amnesia.


  6. TDSB — Your comment is insufferably preachy and demeaning. Neither I, the journalist involved or my commenters, are suffering from some kind of amnesia or ignorance.

    Frankly, in my opinion, it is you that has a problem given your flippant notion about the mother not paying taxes and therefore a law breaker. This should be about the children and the needs of those children. She is poor for heavens sake. Plus, her father already pays taxes in the neighbourhood.

    But, your biggest source of ignorance was when you suggested that all the mother had to do was make her father guardian of her children. Do you have any idea what you are suggesting? That the mother would have to give up all legal right and custody to her children?

    When I was a single parent back 40+ years ago, with a child with behavioural problems, what turned out to be autism, that was suggested to me as well. I was horrified. Why? Because it is the first step to losing your kids.

    Blame the victim comes to mind here. Be helpless, don’t want better for your kids and the system will help you. But heaven help you, don’t try to get ahead on your own or the law and people like you will slap you down — fast.

    I can only hope you are not in a position to make those kinds of recommendations in the TDSB.

    Am I making excuses for this mother? Yes, but I too agree there is another side to this story. However, it is not about the mothers guilt or innocence, it is about empowerment and the reality that “parent choice” scares public educators big time.

    I very much regret you took such a discmissive stance. Up to now, I have always appreciated your different point of view. But, in this one, your message is clear.


  7. What has been evident in the five years I have been blogging is that public educators do not appreciate anyone disagreeing with them or trying to manipulate the system for the betterment of their children. While in the system, and part of the system, I would never have realized the extent of the arrogance, even though I personally experienced it when my kids were young and before I went to teachers’ college.

    Well, I have to tell public educators is that you are all living in a vacuum and environment of entitlement and have no idea of what parents today have to go through to be heard and to get the best for their children — unless you too are having trouble with getting help for your own children.

    But, mark my words, change is coming. Parents are going to start demanding some control and when they do en masse, it will be the touchy brittle public educators and their union bosses who will wonder what hit them. And, what will hit them is parent em[power]ment in the form of choice, be it open boundaries, alternative schools or charter schools. Because, that is precisely what is happening to this Ohio mother. Label her a law breaker, tax dodger, etc., etc., she is one tough lady — a lady who only wants to give her kids the break others take for granted — and willing to go to jail to get it!!!!

    As such, as I have said in the past, the stories I am going to concentrate on from now on are those where credible parents need a voice. Educators, like myself, can be blinded by our governments and those in our profession. Well, those blinders have definitely been removed from my eyes!


  8. Comment spam (advertising products) has become such a problem, I am going to have to put comments on full moderation for a few days. My apologies for any inconvenience.


  9. Sandy, I was not offering my own opinion, I was reporting what was reported by conservative bloggers in a position to know the ciicumstances (apparently).

    I have no opinion on the case, nor do I give “advice” to anyone who doesn’t ask for it.

    However, since my sharing information from other sources here is clearly unwelcome, I will not do it again. Personally, I think Michael Crichton’s speeches and articles are insightful and food for thought. Obviously you find them otherwise. De gustibus non disputandum.


  10. I would like to know who was the person who reported this parent to the authorities? Was this an issue of some parents trying to prevent choice for other parents? I’m slowly growing on the idea of parent choice, but I’m also concerned about who will get to choose what parent choice looks like? Go into any school and you know that parents have an extremely wide range of views and attitudes about what they want for their child’s education. They also have equally wide views about what parents and children they would like involved with their own child’s education. I hear parents talk about choices and what they want in their child’s school. Who will get to decide what the local neighbourhood school will look like and who is allowed to attend the school and which parents will have to send their own children in the neighbourhood on a bus to another school because their choices were not supported by other parents in the neighbourhood? Parents may be turning to teachers to fight for their views on what a school should look like.


  11. Just to let regular readers know, I am going to be taking an extended break and, as such, will be redirecting the direct domains — http://www.crux-of-the-matter.com and http://www.theretirededucator.com — elsewhere. However, I will be saving the database in case I change my mind at a later date — meaning that all my posts and comments will be left just as they are now.

    To those who may wonder why I want to take such an indefinite break, it is the state of my neck, shoulders and arms. Blogging is very hard on those areas. So, instead of researching and writing most mornings, I will be joining a local gym where I can work out several mornings a week. Plus, spring is coming and there is a walking trail within meters of where I live.

    My thanks to everyone. It has been a productive five years, nearly four on wordpress plus the first year and a half on blogger.

    In the meantime, I will no doubt be popping up on other sites from time to time, such as Blue Like You.


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