September 23, 2018 | ° F

Nation requires better school systems

Should a mother ever be arrested for trying to provide her children with a good education? Most people would be appalled at the mere suggestion of punishing natural maternal care, but Kelley Williams-Bolar of Akron, Ohio, was subject to just such punishment when she was convicted of lying about her address in order to send her children to a better school district. While what Williams-Bolar did was, in fact, illegal, arresting her for it seems a bit extreme.

Williams-Bolar should have gone through the proper channels to get her children into the Copley-Fairlawn School District, which she thought would provide them with a better education than the Akron Central District. We won't contest that. But there was no need to arrest her for her conduct. The school merely should have deregistered her children and sent them back to their proper district. Presiding Judge Patricia Cosgrove admitted that Williams-Bolar was sentenced to prison as an example: "I felt that some punishment or deterrent was needed for other individuals who might think to defraud the various school districts."

It is unfair to turn Williams-Bolar into an example, especially when all she was trying to do was give her children a better life. She never would have resorted to defrauding the school district if she was provided with better public education inside of her legitimate district. If anyone is at fault here, it is the public school system — public education is failing nationwide. Individuals considering defrauding the school districts do not need a deterrent. Instead, they need better schools, so that they would not have to resort to fraud in the first place.

This debacle lends even more support to Gov. Chris Christie's education reforms in New Jersey, especially the proposed Opportunity Scholarship Act. The act would make it so people like Williams-Bolar, who find themselves faced with failing public schools, would have the chance to give their children better educations without resorting to criminal activity. Ohio should take notice of what Christie is trying to do in New Jersey and follow suit. In fact, most of America should pay attention to Christie's education reforms. Ohio is not the only place where things like this are happening.

In one way, Cosgrove succeeded in making Williams-Bolar an example — although, not in the way she intended. Williams-Bolar's case now stands as an example of how broken the United States' public school system is and how badly it needs repairs.

The Daily Targum

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