The Good Mom vs the Black Mom
Most parents want their kids to go to a good school and get a good education. Most would do almost anything to make that happen. This is the story of two mothers who were willing to do anything to make that happen. Although they went about it in two similar ways, the stark difference is the severity in which they went about it and their outcomes.
In 2011, Kelley Williams-Bolar, a Black mother, and her children lived in Akron, Ohio. She was sentenced to 10 days (served 9 days) in jail, three years of probation, and 80 hours of community service after being convicted of two felonies for falsifying her daughter’s address to get into a better school district. Kelley used her father’s home address who lived in the school district that she wanted to send her kids to. Kelley stated that both her and her children split time between her residence and her father’s in which she declared she had dual residency; thus, she didn’t see the issue in using her father’s address.
In 2019, Felicity Huffman, a white mother, and her family lived in California. She was sentenced to 14 days (served 11 days) in jail after bribing her daughter’s college exam test proctor with $15,000 to alter her daughter’s SAT scores so she would get into an elite school. Felicity was also hit with 250 hours of community service, a year of probation, and a $30,000 fine.
Picture of Kelley Williams-Bolar and her two daughters
Picture of Felicity Huffman and her husband.
Both Bolar and Huffman, falsified school records so their children could get into better schools. However, Huffman did so more severely than Bolar. Yes, severity is subjective, but come on. Huffman paid someone $15,000 to alter her daughter’s standardized exam scores. Bolar used her father’s address, who lived in that community, to send her kids to a different school. How did Bolar, who only falsified an address, end up getting a similar punishment as Huffman? Bolar was used as an example and as a deterrent for others in Akron.
As we see everyday when Black defendants go to court, this judge felt the need to make an example out of this Black woman for simply trying to get her children a better education. There was a need for Kelley to get her children into a different school district as Akron is notorious for their public schools being degraded and not up to par with other public schools. Huffman did not have an outstanding need for her child to go to an elite school. Evidently, she could afford to send her child to any college. This is just another example of the 1 percenters being greedy for more.
Optimistically, I would like to attribute the difference in the outcome for these two cases to the time. One case was 11 years ago and one was fairly recent in 2019. However, who am I kidding? The times have not changed that drastically to not easily be able to spot the stark difference between the cases. They are black and white cases (😉 see what I did there?). Kelley Williams-Bolar was a single, low-income, Black woman. Felicity Huffman was a white, rich, actor with a white, rich, actor husband. In the long run, these felonies will follow Bolar for the rest of her life and there will be collateral consequences that she will have to deal with that Huffman will not. Huffman will continue to live her best life and this scandal won’t follow her. This was a blip on the screen for her while this was a giant crack in Bolar’s.