School District Shenanigans: Seeking a Better Education Means Jail Time for Parents

It's truly amazing how often we can read news reports or see stories on the televised news and not be stunned by the apparent inability of the media to recognize irony when it walks up and calmly smacks them in the face.

As a case in point, the Wall Street Journal, in an article titled "The Latest Crime Wave: Sending Your Child to a Better School," explores the growing effort of parents whose children are relegated to inferior schools and who therefore do what bureaucrats find criminal -- they attempt to slip their kids into a superior school even if it means lying about their address.

The subject of the article is Ms. Kelley Williams-Bolar, and African-American mother of two daughters, who had the temerity to react to her frustration with the dead-end education being offered in her district by re-registering the two girls using her father's address, which happens to be in a different, and better, school district. 

Yes, technically, this is an illegal act (in fact, felony grand theft), and Ms. Williams-Bolar has had to spend nine days in jail, as well as risk her ability to earn a teaching license herself, so one can safely assume that the authorities take this very seriously indeed. 

The article also notes that other parents, in Connecticut, Kentucky, and Missouri, have been arrested, have been tried, and are currently awaiting sentencing for identical criminal activity.

The Journal also reports:

From California to Massachusetts, districts are hiring special investigators to follow children from school to their homes to determine their true residences and decide if they "belong" at high-achieving public schools. School districts in Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey all boasted recently about new address-verification programs designed to pull up their drawbridges and keep "illegal students" from entering their gates.

Other school districts use services like VerifyResidence.com, which provides "the latest in covert video technology and digital photographic equipment to photograph, videotape, and document" children going from their house to school. School districts can enroll in the company's rewards program, which awards anonymous tipsters $250 checks for reporting out-of-district students.

Only in a world where irony is dead could people not marvel at concerned parents being prosecuted for stealing a free public education for their children.

Yes, the Journal article does use the word "irony," yet it ignores the greater irony that stares the reader in the face. 

Prosecutions for this so-called crime (perhaps it should be called Felony Good Parenting) are apparently occurring on a national basis.  It is ostensibly viewed as so detrimental to governmental control that school districts (when not busy whining for more state and federal assistance) are spending significant amounts of money on what might be compared to Wild West bounty hunters to catch these dangerous felons. 

The real irony is that these bounty hunters are not allowed to determine if the children who might be registered in an unauthorized school district are in the country legally.  Apparently, being an illegal alien is equivalent to a "Get Out of Jail Free" card, while for anyone born here, the same behavior is a ticket to a felony conviction. 

Barack Obama and Eric Holder nearly foam at the mouth at the thought that any state would question their handling of the illegal alien problem or balk at the costs that said states have to bear that are caused by that very problem.  But the president and attorney general are mute on the question of whether an American citizen should be treated as a felon for wanting to insure that his or her kids get a decent education. 

It seems that President Obama and the Attorney General Holder are too busy protecting illegal aliens to worry about making sure that Ms. Williams-Bolar wants the kind of education that might give her kids a chance to become president or attorney general. 

Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller, a Vietnam veteran, and an independent voter.  Jim blogs at http://jimyardley.wordpress.com, or he can be contacted directly at james.v.yardley@gmail.com.

It's truly amazing how often we can read news reports or see stories on the televised news and not be stunned by the apparent inability of the media to recognize irony when it walks up and calmly smacks them in the face.

As a case in point, the Wall Street Journal, in an article titled "The Latest Crime Wave: Sending Your Child to a Better School," explores the growing effort of parents whose children are relegated to inferior schools and who therefore do what bureaucrats find criminal -- they attempt to slip their kids into a superior school even if it means lying about their address.

The subject of the article is Ms. Kelley Williams-Bolar, and African-American mother of two daughters, who had the temerity to react to her frustration with the dead-end education being offered in her district by re-registering the two girls using her father's address, which happens to be in a different, and better, school district. 

Yes, technically, this is an illegal act (in fact, felony grand theft), and Ms. Williams-Bolar has had to spend nine days in jail, as well as risk her ability to earn a teaching license herself, so one can safely assume that the authorities take this very seriously indeed. 

The article also notes that other parents, in Connecticut, Kentucky, and Missouri, have been arrested, have been tried, and are currently awaiting sentencing for identical criminal activity.

The Journal also reports:

From California to Massachusetts, districts are hiring special investigators to follow children from school to their homes to determine their true residences and decide if they "belong" at high-achieving public schools. School districts in Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey all boasted recently about new address-verification programs designed to pull up their drawbridges and keep "illegal students" from entering their gates.

Other school districts use services like VerifyResidence.com, which provides "the latest in covert video technology and digital photographic equipment to photograph, videotape, and document" children going from their house to school. School districts can enroll in the company's rewards program, which awards anonymous tipsters $250 checks for reporting out-of-district students.

Only in a world where irony is dead could people not marvel at concerned parents being prosecuted for stealing a free public education for their children.

Yes, the Journal article does use the word "irony," yet it ignores the greater irony that stares the reader in the face. 

Prosecutions for this so-called crime (perhaps it should be called Felony Good Parenting) are apparently occurring on a national basis.  It is ostensibly viewed as so detrimental to governmental control that school districts (when not busy whining for more state and federal assistance) are spending significant amounts of money on what might be compared to Wild West bounty hunters to catch these dangerous felons. 

The real irony is that these bounty hunters are not allowed to determine if the children who might be registered in an unauthorized school district are in the country legally.  Apparently, being an illegal alien is equivalent to a "Get Out of Jail Free" card, while for anyone born here, the same behavior is a ticket to a felony conviction. 

Barack Obama and Eric Holder nearly foam at the mouth at the thought that any state would question their handling of the illegal alien problem or balk at the costs that said states have to bear that are caused by that very problem.  But the president and attorney general are mute on the question of whether an American citizen should be treated as a felon for wanting to insure that his or her kids get a decent education. 

It seems that President Obama and the Attorney General Holder are too busy protecting illegal aliens to worry about making sure that Ms. Williams-Bolar wants the kind of education that might give her kids a chance to become president or attorney general. 

Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller, a Vietnam veteran, and an independent voter.  Jim blogs at http://jimyardley.wordpress.com, or he can be contacted directly at james.v.yardley@gmail.com.