Thursday, January 27, 2011

Is This Justice?

Imagine you want to give your kids a better chance for education. You can't get into a better school because of the district you live in, so you use the address of your father. Yes it's illegal but you're thinking of your children's future as you are studying to be a teacher.

This is what faced Kelley Williams-Bolar, a mother of two in Akron, Ohio who has now been convicted of a felony for doing this. You figured she'd get probation and a reprimand right? A fair slap on the wrist or something? She got 10 days in jail - the only part of a 5-year prison sentence not suspended - two years probation and community service

(Update: Williams-Bolar has been released yesterday, Jan 26, from prison, serving 9 days of her sentence.)

And what's worse, the felony conviction will prohibit her from getting her teaching license. There is a chance that Williams-Bolar, who has no prior record, can have her conviction expunged in 6 months to continue pursuing her license but it's not a 100% guarantee.

Now I'm not condoning the legality of what she did but is this fair? How does someone get a felony for this? A misdemeanor maybe but felonies should be reserved for the most serious offenses. The punishment should fit the crime and this doesn't.

It's a clear case of overpunishing to send a message. That's fair for violent criminals and serial offenders but not 1st time offenders for minor crimes. I saw this on the news last night and was dumbfounded.

I could make a lot of statements about kids who come to private schools for athletic reasons and those transfers are not only accepted but celebrated. But as to not get away from the core of this matter, I'll just say that the heavy hand of justice has once again been slapped on somebody who deserved far less to fit what she did and it's not fair. It's also a reminder that education is still too much of a privilege and not enough of a fair and equal possibility so people will find ways to unfortunately cheat a system in the name of self-improvement.

A caring mother now has to potentially wear the albatross of a felony conviction and her career has been stalled. I've discovered a petition to appeal to the governor to voice my disapproval with the case. Read and sign if you agree. Feel free to discuss.

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