An Ohio single mother was released Wednesday after spending 10 days in jail for sending her children to school.
But it was the wrong school, authorities say.
Kelley Williams-Bolar registered her two daughters with the Copley-Fairlawn School District in the suburbs of Akron, Ohio, near her father’s home.
She and the children live in downtown Akron, where the school district has a much lower academic record and the neighbourhood is plagued by drugs and crime.
The woman told CNN the family considered her father’s house one of their homes.
“My primary residence was both places. I stayed at both places,” she said in an interview at the Summit County Jail.
Her father, Edward Williams, said the children did live with him so he believed the family was within the law.
In addition, his daughter’s Akron neighbourhood — where she lives in government-subsidized housing —isn’t safe.
“She had 12 police reports that her house had been broken in, so what am I supposed to do? Just leave them there?” Mr. Williams said.
“I mean, I can protect them better if they was with me.”
The woman — who is black — was caught after the school district hired a private eye, who videotaped her driving into the predominantly white district to
deliver the children to school.
Then officials asked her to pay US$30,000, the estimated cost of the four years of schooling received by her children without her paying taxes.
When she refused, they went to court.
Ms. Williams-Bolar was indicted and convicted of falsifying her residency records.
“It’s overwhelming. I’m exhausted,” she told ABC News.
“I did this for [my children], so there it is. I did this for them.”
Brian Poe, the Copley-Fairlawn superintendent, said the district almost always resolves residency cases without involving the courts, but it couldn’t work
out a resolution with Ms. Williams-Bolar.
“The way I look at it is, the bottom line, you need to follow the law,” he said.
“If you choose to step outside of the law, what’s going to happen at that point is you are going to have to face the consequences for that.”
He denied Ms. Williams-Bolar was singled out because she is black.
The case has upset many people in the area, including the judge who sentenced Ms. Williams-Bolar.
Common Pleas Judge Patricia Cosgrove said the prosecutor’s office refused to consider reducing the charges to misdemeanours during numerous closed-door
talks to resolve the case outside court, the Akron Beacon reported.