Lakota Schools board president urges re-focus on improving student proficiency

Lakota’s governing board re-iterated its previous stance Monday evening that when it comes to potential policy changes regarding transgender student athletes, the board will wait until state legislators provide guidance.

Lakota Board of Education member Darbi Boddy tried to propose a policy that would have the board establish its own policy now rather than wait for action from the Ohio Legislation, but her resolution was not seconded, losing by a 4-1 vote .

Boddy began the meeting by interrupting Board President Lynda O’Connor who then admonished the member for speaking out of order. At various points later in the meeting on other issues, O’Connor had to object to Boddy speaking over her — and other board members.

In their rejection of Boddy’s proposed Board Vice President Isaac Adi said the board had already chosen its course of action in August when the topic of transgender student athletes — specifically boys competing in girls’ sports — was raised by Boddy.

The board then tabled the topic indefinitely citing pending state legislation.

Moreover, current restrictions already in place by state athletic officials and Lakota’s athletic conference have requirements for any student seeking to participate in an alternative gender sport that must be met, said Adi.

“Let’s have the state take care of this,” he said, adding his concerns for possible litigation springing from a new policy that may differ from existing state school athletic rules and conference restrictions.

Lakota officials said there are currently no transgender students seeking to compete in prep sports, nor has there been the history of the district.

The meeting also featured a presentation by district officials on Lakota’s performance on the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) report card, based on student testing from last school year, and noted the detrimental impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to lower academic achievement in several areas.

The recent months controversies surrounding Lakota Superintendent Matt Miller, who was investigated in the wake of accusations — found to be of a non-criminal nature — by both the Butler County Sheriff’s’ Office and a private investigation firm, were issues best moved on from, said several board members including O’Connor.

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During O’Conner’s closing meeting comments, she said the board needs to re-focus on the key mission of student achievement for the 17,200-student school system, which is the largest in Butler County.

“It is time to move back to what our core competency and what our core focus needs to be and that is students,” she said.

“It’s my hope that is the kind of conversations we are going to have in the upcoming board meetings.”

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