An Ohio woman who was jailed for using her father's address to enroll her children in a neighboring school district told a television station she's grateful she got a break from the governor and would handle things differently if she could relive the episode.
"I can breathe, I can live my life, I can take care of my daughters, I can be that person I can be, I can be a productive citizen," Kelley Williams-Bolar told WJW-TV ( http://bit.ly/nfjzK2) in an interview Thursday, a day after Ohio Gov. John Kasich reduced her conviction on two felony records tampering counts to two misdemeanors.
Williams-Bolar, a teacher's assistant at Akron public schools, said the original charges threatened her efforts to earn her teacher's license.
"You limit yourself when something like a felony gets under your belt," she told the television station.
The Akron woman served nine days in jail earlier this year for falsifying information on records she used to send her daughters to schools in the suburban Copley-Fairlawn schools.
Kasich said he was giving her a "second chance" _ not a pass _ because he felt the penalty was too harsh. He acted as he did despite a unanimous recommendation from the Ohio Parole Board that the felony conviction should stand.
Williams-Bolar had told the parole board during a July hearing that she was remorseful for lying.
"It was wrong, and I expressed that, and I wanted them to understand and know that I knew that what I did was not right," she said Thursday. "But, at the same, I was looking out for my daughters."
Williams-Bolar, a single mother, said safety was her main concern when she enrolled the girls in the Copley-Fairlawn district. Officials there challenged her daughters' residency in 2007, when they were 9 and 13 years old. She also said she was worried about leaving the children alone because someone had broken into her home.
The case drew national attention as a high-profile example of schools getting tougher on parents who improperly send their children to other districts, usually with better-funded and higher-performing schools. Some people were outraged by Williams-Bolar's dishonesty. Others believed she was dealt with too severely.
Her attorney did not immediately respond to messages Friday seeking further comment from Williams-Bolar. She told the television station she now wishes she had just tried to talk with school officials about the residency issue.
"What would it have hurt?" she asked.
Information from: WJW-TV, http://www.fox8.com