Stealing School

So you might not have seen the news, fellow pulp citizen, but there have been some nefarious things afoot. It seems a bunch of parents have been trying to game the system to get their children into “a better school”, whatever that means, by cheating, lying, bribing, whatever it takes so their little princes and princesses don’t have to find favor among the huddled masses.

You think I reference the Hollywood elite suddenly up poop creek without an attorney present because they could not stomach their child being at the four-year directional school across the tracks?

Nope. I meant people like Kelley Williams-Bolar, an Ohio woman sentenced to three years probation and 10 days in jail in 2011 for defrauding a school district. She was sneaking her daughters into another district to try and get them in the best school possible.

The school district actually hired a private investigator to follow and document her movement. How sweet.

She actually got off LIGHT. Her story is just one of dozens, if not hundreds of cases of parents being busted, arrested, and jailed for trying to get their child into a better school district, short of actually having the means to live in said district.


That desire to do better for your children is nothing new. It was the impetus behind Brown v. Board of Education. Separate was not equal.

It was the driving force two winters ago when I slept in a cold rain with hundreds of other people outside my school board in an effort to win a spot at local optional school, out of my district, for my kindergartner. It was a miserable experience but one I felt profoundly important.

And it is roughly the same for the elite among us, feeling that same pressure, albeit probably a bit more misguided than Ms. Williams-Bolar, to do anything they perceive with give their children even this><much of a leg up.

And then we see all the trade school people out actually WORKING, laughing at the entire thing.
 
 

And if you think this is sort of silly, rich people fretting over elite college admissions, let me remind you that they have been charged with felonies with words like larceny and mail fraud in them. It’s serious. Although I bet most will lawyer their way out and a few will end up interviewed by Gail King

It’s also serious for us pulp. Companies like www.verifyresidence.com exist to FIND THE CRIMINALS engaging in residency fraud!

I’m loathe to provide the link, but look at it and note the race of everyone on the site (except one.. it’s a game of find the sorta minority) and then look at the poster of the three kids mocking the kid that SHOULD NOT BE THERE. I particularly love the snoopy white mom clearly concerned, sitting in her car, calling Batman or someone to come deal with this situation.

My word.

So we have parents of all backgrounds trying to find the tiniest bit of an advantage, possibly illegal, for their babies; then schools, government bodies and rent-a-snoops all looking to bust mom and make an EXAMPLE of them, and still the trade school people drive by laughing.

People should not go to jail for trying to give the best for their children. Yet we exist on a class system. The poorest just want to get their kids to a school that is safe, the safe school kids are being spirited off to the above average schools, those kids’ parents are sneaking them into the “high performing” schools, and on and on, until you reach a strange apex.

The wealthiest are trying to KEEP their kids in their social-economic-class. The fear there is not moving them up, but rather they will regress. And some do. Not all kids are meant to go to Harvard.

University admission is one thing, but no child should be condemned to a school without basic funding, decent lunches and snacks, without safety, without dedicated teachers and staff trying to help rise up all those little minds, without the opportunity that comes with a good school. There IS a big difference between the poor and the elite, the huddled class and the monied, the powerless and the powerful. Even if the tactics seem roughly the same, the consequences for the children, who start in very different class structures, is profound.

And the trade school people, the ones we need in our worlds to do basically all those things we can’t, drive by shaking their heads.