In past two years, two Lakota board members have drawn cries to resign

In fewer than two years, the governing board of Butler County’s largest school system has seen two members get in highly publicized trouble due to their electronic communications regarding school matters.

One board member resigned in September 2020.

The other more recent incident hasn’t yet produced a board member’s resignation, and may not.

Earlier this week saw Lakota Board of Education member Darbi Boddy censured by her fellow board members and asked to resign — in part — for social media postings that included a link to a pornography site and allegations of deceptions by school district leadership.

While the board censuring, which occurred Wednesday during an emergency meeting, is a rarely employed action by local boards, it also amounts to no more than a public reprimand of Boddy with few if any consequences.

And the vote by her colleagues to resign is unenforceable under Ohio law, so Boddy remains one of Lakota’s five school board members as she was elected to be during the fall when she won a four-year term and was the second largest vote-earner among eight candidates.

Boddy has repeatedly told the Journal-News she has no intention of resigning from the board that oversees the 17,000-student district, which is the largest suburban school system in southwest Ohio and the ninth most populous in the state.

She said the link to a pornography site was an inadvertent and later corrected mistake in her Facebook posting criticizing what she claims are inappropriate sex education classroom resources being used at other districts.

Boddy responded to her colleagues’ actions against her by saying she objected to “this politically motivated circus designed as a cover for what is nothing more than a continuation of efforts to shut down (political) conservatives.”

Boddy’s attempts since being sworn on to the board in January to introduce a handful of policy change resolutions for board discussion and vote — have been repeatedly thwarted by a lack of a supporting board member seconding her motions.

Earlier this week, during the board’s work session meeting, Boddy tried to have her resolution banning future COVID-19 pandemic masking in Lakota Schools — unless ordered directly by local and state health officials — brought up for board discussion.

No other board member seconded her motion and her proposed resolution was ignored.

The censure order against Boddy coincided — but was not referred to by other board members — with a recent effort by some in the school community generating a petition calling for the board to do just that.

The petition calling for the board to censure her has garnered more than 1,580 signatures to date.

The circumstances were different in August 2020, when then-Lakota board member Todd Parnell was asked by to resign after he sent an email message to the Lakota West High School principal in the wake of police arresting a student in the parking lot.

In Parnell’s email he had written of the arrested students, “they (police) should have shot them.”

Parnell resigned soon after saying: “I made an ill-advised attempt at sarcastic humor.”

“Looking at it now the attempt at sarcasm was ill-advised. And given my intent to resign at the end of the year, which was my plan, and the opportunity to pursue a (job outside the district) I decided to resign now,” he said.

Any Ohio school board where members vote to censure a colleague is rare.

Voting to ask a member to resign, even more so.

Lakota Board of Education member Kelley Casper described the tense board meeting — and censure and resignation votes — as “very uncomfortable.”

Boddy’s frequent accusations, said Casper, questioning the validity of Lakota’s programs — and at times the integrity and honesty of its leadership — “are causing a rift and a division in the community, in the district and on the board.”

“But I believe this is the right thing,” she said.

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