Court rules Banned Lakota board member can attend meetings

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Banned Lakota School Board member Darbi Boddy will be allowed to attend the board meeting on Monday as long as she steers clear of fellow member Isaac Adi, who has a civil protection order against her.

Multiple court motions were filed this week as Boddy fought to attend school board meetings. Late Thursday, Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Greg Howard granted Boddy’s emergency motion to partially suspend an order she stay 500 feet away from Adi, with conditions.

He wrote that when Boddy attends meetings she must “not communicate with the petitioner unless necessary during school board meeting business,” and she has to wait until five minutes after Adi leaves before she can go.

Her attorney, Rob Croskery, suggested the solution when asking the judge to allow her to attend meetings. Adi obtained a civil stalking protection order from Howard on grounds Boddy has been harassing him and causing him mental distress.

“We are gratified that Judge Howard recognized the clear public interest in granting this partial stay and allowing Darbi Boddy to continue to serve her constituents,” Croskery said. “We continue to be confident that the Court of Appeals will overturn the Civil Protective Order as contrary to law, but in the interim, Darbi will continue to place the needs of parents and children above those of special interests.”

Rob Lyons, Adi’s attorney, and Lakota Board President Lynda O’Connor could not be reached for comment.

Had Howard denied the motion, Boddy was in danger of losing her board seat, if the appellate process stretched past 90 days, according to the law.

Croskery first appealed the protection order — signed by Howard on Sept. 20 — to the 12th Court of Appeals and followed up with an emergency motion to allow her to attend meetings, pending that review. The 12th District kicked the emergency motion, saying he needed to go to Howard first.

Croskery didn’t ask Howard to suspend the entire protection order, just the part that would prohibit her from attending meetings.

Under the standard order, Boddy cannot go within 500 feet — equivalent to 15 school buses — of Adi or into any building or place she “knows or should know the protected persons are likely to be, even with a protected person’s permission.” She is not allowed to tamper with any of his possessions, contact him in any way or encourage anyone else to harass him. The order stands until Sept. 20, 2025.

The decision penned by Magistrate Matthew Reed said because Adi didn’t side with her on certain issues, Boddy “took every opportunity to exert pressure, bully, and, at times, punish petitioner by embarrassing him in front of others.”

“The court finds that petitioner has established by a preponderance of the evidence that the actions of respondent have caused him mental distress,” Reed wrote. “And if left unchecked will continue to cause petitioner mental distress.”

A good deal of the order dealt with a Florida conference both attended in April. The Journal-News obtained a transcript of a hearing a couple weeks ago in which Boddy testified to what she said during that Florida conference. She read off her phone what she said about Adi during three sessions — she couldn’t give the whole speech every time — at the conference.

“This man right here is not a conservative. He is actively working to ensure that individual board members do not have random access to classrooms, which is the only way to ensure accountability, and that teachers are teaching what they should be teaching,” the transcript reads. “He voted to harm our children by voting to mask our students and push vaccines.”

She also said he supported a pedophile, “voted to get rid of public comment in a board meeting, and is currently allowing boys to use the girls’ bathroom, and will not protect our daughters’ competitive athletics and is allowing the indoctrination of our students through SEL and DEI.”

When questioned about the incident, she said she hoped the crowd at the conference could help him.

“I was really hopeful that the people in the crowd would be able to help Mr. Adi.,” she said and later added, “I thought I was going to have another conservative on the board with me, and I was really excited... I was really hopeful that, you know, they would be able to help Mr. Adi understand what we are fighting in the school district.”

Adi also testified at the hearing, describing several times Boddy recorded video of him on her cell phone during board meetings and after. This time was after a meeting on replacing former superintendent Matt Miller.

“That was the final straw. She posted that on every Facebook on this earth where she had access to. She gave it to the media. She gave it to everybody,” he testified. “I’m getting phone calls from everyone. People calling me right and left. I’m like, what is this? And people that saw the video said, of course that video, she was even pursue you... those encounters started to affect my health.”

Because of the situation with Boddy, he testified he was rushed to the hospital. “My blood pressure shot up. My system — everything in my body was almost shutting down. And I was in the hospital for three days.”

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