Lakota board member demands district retract trespassing notice, restore badge access to schools
Her lawyer sends ‘cease and desist’ letter to school board, superintendent and other Lakota administrators
BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - Lakota School Board member Darbi Boddy wants the district to retract its notice of trespassing and restore her badge access to school buildings by Aug. 10.
She also wants the board and Superintendent Matt Miller to “cease and desist from facilitating the spread of false information,” according to a letter her attorney, Robert Croskery of Cincinnati, sent this week on her behalf.
The subject of the letter, according to a copy obtained by FOX19 NOW, is “Revocation of ‘no trespassing’ letter to Boddy and “immediate badging access so that she can do the job she was elected to do.”
“Darbi Boddy,” the letter states, “was elected to help parents and taxpayers find out whether doctrines such as ‘Critical Race Theory’ and interference with parents’ rights to raise their children have crept into the schools.”
FOX19 NOW has reached out to the superintendent for comment.
We will update this story once we hear back.
Boddy has generated controversy since she was elected last fall to the board of Greater Cincinnati’s second-largest school district. She campaigned against critical race theory and for parent choice on vaccines and masking in schools.
The district issued a trespassing notice to her after she made what Lakota officials say were “unannounced” visits on May 4 to two schools without notifying the principals as required for all visitors and took several photographs.
Miller wrote in a message at the time to Lakota families and staff that Boddy, “will no longer be allowed on district property without prior authorization and unless invited for official Board business.”
She ignored staff requests, he wrote, to remain in the main offices at Lakota East High School and Liberty Early Childhood School until the principals met her.
Boddy “walked the hallways, violating safety protocols and causing a disruption in learning,” Miller’s message states.
“This is also not the first time that Mrs. Boddy has ignored board policy, nor is it the first time she has disrupted learning in our schools. Our decision was not made lightly and was done in consultation with law enforcement.”
The principals at Lakota East High School and Liberty Early Childhood School sent a message to parents and guardians echoing Miller’s sentiments, writing that staff members were “understandably alarmed” by Boddy’s “unannounced appearance.”
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Boddy’s lawyer, however, states that the “no trespassing letter,” the censure resolution passed by the board and “the Board’s treatment of Darbi Boddy are all based on the clear misquoting of policy 9150, asking the Board members to confirm to certain procedures for ‘unofficial visits.’
The existence of ‘unofficial’ visits presupposes ... the existence of official visits, such as the ones Darbi was elected to perform,” the letter states.
“It is respectfully submitted that little useful information is obtained about day-to-day operations in carefully choreographed escorted visits, but that much can be learned in unobtrusive observations. Hopefully, the School Board Counsel has already advised the School Board on the policy for ‘official visits’ (vs) ‘unofficial visits’ during class time. If this has not happened, I request that it be done immediately in light of clear legal doctrine and Darbi’s clear mandate.
Boddy tells FOX19 NOW her actions didn’t deserve the punishment.
“It’s not unheard of for a board member to walk into a school to document what’s going on, and it’s absolutely my job to do so, and I would be neglecting my responsibilities as a board member if I didn’t do that,” she said.
Her visits to schools were official business, according to her lawyer.
“She was elected to look for these things, and you can’t get them out of visits that are choreographed where the principal is escorting you around everywhere showing you what he or she wants you to see,” he said.
Boddy says she was elected to carry out her campaign platform.
“Seek out the racist teachings of critical race theory and to get rid of them and to teach the truth about biology, that boys are born boys and girls are born girls... and to protect our daughters’ competitive sports from being ruined by boys competing as transgender females,” she said.
During one of Boddy’s visits to schools, a security camera captured her taking photos.
“I am an elected official and a member of the Lakota School Board, and it is not only appropriate for me to record and document my findings, it is also my duty to do so,” she said.
Boddy took a picture of a student allegedly violating the dress code.
“The difference between a video being taken by the school and one taken by a board member for the school for a purpose that’s important, so long as that video or that snapshot is not misused... It doesn’t matter that there happens to be a student in it,” she said.
“I am just trying to do my job, observe and document what I see, and I am just getting a ton of pushback for doing so.”
According to FOX19 NOW’s media partner, the Cincinnati Enquirer, Boddy snapped more than 50 photos during her unannounced school visits.
Among the pictures she collected, according to the Enquirer: a child’s drawing that reads, “all are welcome here” with rainbows and hearts, a civil rights movement timeline and classroom door stickers with transgender and LGBTQ flags that say, “I am an ally.”
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