One the heels of President Obama's State of the Union address filled with promises and challenges to better educate our children.... we have this story in Akron Ohio where a mother is sentenced to 10 days in jail and given a felony record for using her father's address to get her kids into a better, safer school. Mr President, do you watch Good Morning America? Do one of your aides or interns? Is there someone on your staff that has told you about this story and what life is really like for people trying to get a decent education for their kids?
This story tugs at multiple areas of my heart. My law enforcement background, my student development background and my experiences as a single parent. I understand that this woman broke a law and I do not take that lightly. However, what in the world is this school district trying to accomplish by giving a woman who works as a teacher's assistant and is 12 credit hours away from a degree she will use to become a teacher a felony record? Talk about straining gnats and swallowing camels.
There are many things I do not know regarding this story but with what has been presented it seems to be the absolute height of stupidity for a school district to hire a private investigator to determine whether or not this woman and her children lived in their district and for the state of Ohio to pay for her 10 days of incarceration in order to make a point. Are you being obtuse or are you just stupid? Perhaps you are going to add to her $30,000.00 bill (for sending her children to a school where they had the chance of a better education) and make her pay for your investigators and her own jail time? Heck, she probably makes a ton of money raising two kids on a teacher's assistant salary while being a college student. A job she will likely lose because of your actions and a judge with a bad case of rectal cranial inversion. What? We have a mom who is reticent to send her kids to a school where there is a high drop-out and crime rate? I know.... let's throw her butt in prison on felony charges and completely ruin her chances to get her children out of that area! What moron decided to make an example of her case? Were her kids a problem? Did they disrupt your school? Is there something so egregious they have done and this was your only solution? I know media is biased and so please tell me, what would warrant this as your only solution?
How about this for a radical idea. If a neighboring school is failing to educate or keep children safe while they are attending, the solution to the problem of people trying to cross into your district lies not arresting and jailing the parents, but in fixing the problem school! Wouldn't that be a novel idea. I bet if the woman could afford to live your school district, she would move there. A better job might accomplish that for her and if you had not given her a felony record she may have done just that! I bet if the other school's faculty didn't have to deal with the very criminal element this mom was trying to avoid they could actually teach the kids who want an education! I don't know if Akron considers inter or intra district transfers, but certainly that would be a better remedy than arresting parents.
I would hate to think that this was at all racially motivated. I haven't done any investigation on this story. Frankly, I am afraid of what I might find out. I was infuriated by the statement the school district made:
"While her children are no longer attending schools in the Copley-Fairlawn District, school officials said she was cheating because her daughters received a quality education without paying taxes to fund it.
"Those dollars need to stay home with our students," school district officials said."
Well, I think sending their mom to jail for 10 days and perhaps ruining her chances to become a teacher, one who might have made a difference, is making them pay way to much for your education. As to the quality.... I can't say. I will not snipe at the teachers because the administrators are jerks.
President Obama you may have gotten Democrats and Republicans to mingle and play nicely during your speech, but you have little chance of making me believe that your words will make a tinker's damn bit of difference when it comes to education.
OK. My rant is almost finished. I am admittedly writing from a place of emotion but I dare say the district's solution was and is not logical. The consequences for being a convicted felon are grave. Somebody please come to this woman's aid. Ms. Williams-Bolar, I wish I were closer to you. I would offer my career counseling and student development experience to help you and your children.