Rancor and rifts: Lakota board member Boddy’s actions lead into next meeting

In January Darbi Boddy was sworn in as one of two new members of the Lakota School Board. In recent months and weeks Boddy has repeatedly clashed with fellow board members and Lakota district administrators - including Superintendent Matt Miller. Last week, Boddy was censured by fellow members and asked to resign, which she has refused to do. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

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In January Darbi Boddy was sworn in as one of two new members of the Lakota School Board. In recent months and weeks Boddy has repeatedly clashed with fellow board members and Lakota district administrators - including Superintendent Matt Miller. Last week, Boddy was censured by fellow members and asked to resign, which she has refused to do. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

So far there a no signs the recent contentiousness surrounding the Lakota Local Schools board — and specifically member Darbi Boddy — will subside going into this coming Monday’s meeting.

Since Boddy walked out of the Lakota Board of Education’s last meeting on April 27 — which was a quickly arranged, emergency gathering of the board that saw four members vote to censure Boddy and request her resignation — more divisiveness also surfaced.

ExploreLakota Schools board censures, calls for resignation of member

Boddy’s campaign and politically allied partner Isaac Adi blasted her in a social media posting soon after the April 27 meeting and decried his fellow, new board member as “stirring the waters (and being) disruptive and disrespectful.”

ExploreLakota board members, once campaign partners, now in social media fight

Then earlier this week, Boddy made visits to two Lakota school buildings, which district administration officials said were not pre-arranged, and drew further criticisms and an unusual warning that any, future, unauthorized visits will be considered trespassing and will be dealt in part with by local law enforcement.

ExploreLakota Schools issue no-trespassing notice to board member who visited buildings

Less than a day after Boddy’s school visits, which included her walking around hallways unescorted — the usual practice is to be accompanied by a building principal or assistant principal — the West Chester Twp. police officer who is supervisor for Lakota’s School Resource Officers showed up at Boddy’s home.

The officer issued her a statement from district officials cautioning her to adhere to school board policy in any future visits of buildings.

“The West Chester Police Department takes seriously any issue related to school safety and works as a partner with the (school) district in ensuring a safe learning environment for students and staff,” Barb Wilson spokeswoman for the township told the Journal-News.

The SRO supervisor — who is also a police officer, said Wilson “hand-delivered to her a letter from the Lakota district regarding safety expectations at the schools … because it related to safety protocols and there was a sense of urgency by the (school) district.”

Boddy told the Journal-News she did not take photos of students during her school visits, which some on social media have accused her of doing, but rather contends she “took pictures of literature and postings on the walls and doors of the schools.”

Boddy continues to be active on social media in voicing her opinions.

One of her latest postings on her Facebook page included her writing: “Again, I have no intentions of resigning and I will continue to honor my campaign pledges that include transparency and an understanding of the culture and learning experience that our children are exposed to in the halls and classrooms of our district.”

Her fellow four board members have not responded to requests to comment regarding Boddy’s actions as Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting approaches.

Ohio’s publicly elected, five-member school boards — seven members for some of the largest city districts in the state — can often operate their usual governance of school districts when one or even two members are in disagreement with board actions.

A three-vote majority on a board is enough to pass action resolutions. Moreover, the same three can also vote on proposed resolutions before the board and can also vote to have discussions of a member’s resolution halted during public meetings or tabled to be brought up at a later meeting.

The Lakota Board of Education will hold its next meeting, which is also available for viewing remotely online at a link provided on the district’s website page for the school board, at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Media Center of Plains Junior School at 5500 Princeton Road in Liberty Twp.

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