Ohio governor orders review of Akron mom’s felony conviction

Liz Goodwin

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is ordering the state's parole board to review the double-felony conviction of Akron single mother Kelley Williams-Bolar, who used her father's address to send her two children to a better school outside her district.

Kasich said the case "struck a deep chord" with him and his wife, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.

"After a careful review of this case by my own legal team, I think it merits a review by the parole board to determine if the penalties are appropriate," Kasich said. The governor received a petition with more than 150,000 signatures calling for leniency in Williams-Bolar's case, together with numerous calls and emails.

Williams-Bolar has become a symbol of persistent education inequalities in the United States, where the makeup of a school district often determines the quality of a child's education. But Williams-Bolar and her lawyer both say she did not enroll her children in the mostly white, high-performing Copley-Fairlawn schools so they could get a better education; rather the idea was to ensure that the kids could go to her father's house after school instead of staying home alone in her crime-ridden Akron neighborhood.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said it's "morally unacceptable" that Williams-Bolar was not able to access a better school for her children legally, arguing that more independent charter schools should be developed. An NPR reporter spoke with education experts who said a criminal prosecution in these kinds of cases was unprecedented.

(Summit County mugshot of Williams-Bolar)