Last month, an Ohio mom was sentenced to 10 days in jail because she sent her kids to a public school outside the district she lived in. Kelley Williams-Bolar lives in a part of Akron, Ohio that she feels is less safe that the neighborhood where her father lives. Also, his district is said to have better schools. So Kelley enrolled her daughters into schools in his neighborhood and told the district that they lived at her dad's address. And they do sometimes. They spend a lot of time with their grandfather.
But the school district hired a private investigator who used surveillance video to prove that she did not live there. (The school's superintendent says they have to do this, because they don't get any additional funds when enrollment rises.) A local prosecutor then chose to charge her with criminal fraud.
Kelley Williams-Bolar went to jail.
Was she legally wrong? Technically, yes. Was she morally right? Absolutely. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “One has not only a legal, but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” Similar to Rosa Parks, Ms. Williams-Bolar may be just the person to demonstrate the need for quality options today for all children, particularly those from low-income communities.
The prosecutor wrote: "Dozens of similar cases in recent years have been resolved at the parent level prior to prosecution because they either removed their children from the school district, paid tuition, or moved into the school district."
Think about that. The prosecutor seems to think it is reasonable that a parent who fears for her kids’ safety in her neighborhood’s schools should have only three choices: withdraw her kids from school, pay for school twice (taxes and tuition), or move. Those are three lousy choices. That’s what we get from government monopolies.
School funds should be attached to every kid, and every parent should be free to take his child to any school.