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September 19, 2019

Ohio Mom Kelley Williams-Bolar, Jailed for Faking School District, Talks Felicity Huffman Sentence

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Kelley Williams-Bolar, the black mom who went to jail for falsifying an address so her kids could get better school districts, is speaking out about actress Felicity Huffman’s 14-day prison sentence for paying $15,000 to rig her daughter’s SAT scores.

“My eyebrows kind of went up,” Williams-Bolar told TV station WKYC.

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HUFFMAN'S CRIME

Huffman is one of the dozens of wealthy parents and individuals busted earlier this year in a nationwide college admissions scandal.

Williams-Bolar got 80 hours of community service and two years’ probation, but she refused to judge

The “Desperate Housewives” actress, who pleaded guilty on May 13, paid $15,000 to have a proctor change the answers on her daughter Sophia’s SAT exam and disguised the bribe as a charity donation.

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WILLIAMS-BOLAR'S CRIME

Williams-Bolar, on the other hand, is an Akron, Ohio mom whose crime was using her father’s home address so her two daughters could attend school in the Copley-Fairlawn district, a higher-performing district.

In 2011, Williams-Bolar was found guilty on felony charges of records tampering, according to WKYC, and then-Ohio governor John Kasich later reduced her charge to a misdemeanor. She spent nine days in jail.

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WILLIAMS-BOLAR'S INITIAL REACTION

Speaking to WKYC, Williams-Bolar recalled the first time she caught wind of Huffman’s case. “When it first ran across my timeline, my eyebrows kind of went up,” she said. “I was shocked a little bit.”

In addition to her jail sentence at the time, Williams-Bolar got 80 hours of community service and two years’ probation, but she refused to judge Huffman’s 14-day jail sentence.

“Her 14 days being fair. …I cannot be the judge of that, and I wouldn’t judge her for that,” the Ohio mom added.

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SETTING PRECEDENCE

Williams-Bolar noted, however, that her case served as precedence for Huffman’s eventual sentencing (The 56-year-old actress had initially asked that she be let off with only probation).

“Initially, you know, she [Huffman] didn’t get anything and they were gonna let her go and that’s when they said ‘In the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar, we must have some kind of equal justice here.’ We have flaws and they need to be addressed, and this situation here was a case in point.”

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During Huffman’s sentencing on Friday, prosecutor Eric Rosen cited Williams-Bolar’s sentence to U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani, NBC News reported.

"I have no regrets seeking a better education for him [her son], I do regret my participation in this drug case."

"If a poor single mom from Akron who is actually trying to provide a better education for her kids should go to jail," Rosen argued. "There is no reason that a wealthy mother with the resources should not also go to jail."

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ANOTHER BLACK MOM COMPARISON

The controversy surrounding Huffman’s case had also brought to fore the case of Tanya McDowell, a black homeless mom who falsified an address so her son could enroll in an elementary school.

It was initially reported that McDowell got a five-year prison sentence for larceny in relation to the falsification, but PEOPLE clarified recently that McDowell also pleaded guilty to selling drugs.

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SPOTLIGHT ON THE JUSTICE SYSTEM

At the time of her sentencing, however, McDowell reportedly said in court: "I have no regrets seeking a better education for him [her son], I do regret my participation in this drug case."

The public has since pointed out differences in the punishments meted out to Huffman, Williams-Bolar, and McDowell, citing it as another example of the unfair justice system.

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Meanwhile, besides spending 14 days in jail, Huffman will also have to pay a $30,000 fine, complete 250 hours of community service, and be on supervised release for one year.

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