Tri-State school board member seeks court protection from fellow board member

Lakota School Board Member Isaac Adi recently filed a petition in Butler County Common Pleas Court for a civil stalking protection order against Darby Boddy.
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 4:58 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2023 at 10:56 AM EDT
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LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WXIX) - A school board member in the largest suburban school district in southwest Ohio is seeking court-ordered protection from a fellow school board member, according to court records obtained by FOX19 NOW.

Lakota School Board Member Isaac Adi recently filed a petition in Butler County Common Pleas Court for a civil stalking protection order against Board Member Darbi Boddy, a copy of it shows.

A hearing on it will be held at 10 a.m. Friday.

Isaac Adi and Darbi Boddy campaigned together in the fall of 2021 but now the relationship “has deteriorated to the point that Ms. Boddy is “extremely aggressive toward me and has become very confrontational,” Adi wrote in his Aug. 16 petition to the court for protection.

He alleges Boddy is verbally attacking and confronting him in a growing “bullying” pattern that has become “harassing” to the extent he feels “threatened” and suffers “anxiety,” according to his request for the protection order.

“With Ms. Boddy’s aggressive and threatening behavior, I do not feel safe with her around me,” Adi wrote in a page-long document attached to his petition describing why he believes she would cause him “physical harm or cause or has caused (him) mental distress.”

He’s also concerned because he says she has indicated several times she carries a gun.

“While I am a strong believer and supporter of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and I do have a concealed carry permit, I feel even more uncomfortable with Ms. Boddy’s aggression when it is my belief that she is carrying a firearm,” he wrote.

Adi’s petition asks the court to order Boddy not to:

“...abuse (him) “by harming, attempting to harm, threatening, following, stalking, harassing or contacting” him

“...enter (his) residence, school, business, place of employment, child care providers or daycare centers....including the buildings, grounds and parking lots at those locations.”

“...possess, use, carry or obtain any deadly weapon, firearms, and ammunition.”

A Butler County Common Pleas Court magistrate held an emergency “ex parte” hearing the same day Adi’s petition was filed to consider immediately granting the protection order, court records show.

The magistrate denied it, writing in her Aug. 16 court entry that Adi “failed to present evidence that an ex parte order is necessary for (his) safety and protection from immediate and present danger” according to Ohio law.

The magistrate scheduled a full hearing on the matter for Aug. 30 so both sides could present their cases.

That hearing was delayed until Tuesday.

On Tuesday, it was rescheduled again, for Friday.

“By intimidation and bullying, she’s been making Mr. Adi’s life miserable,” Adi’s attorney, Robert Lyons, told FOX19 NOW. in an interview earlier this week.

“There’s been a lot of anxiety and stress because of her actions and nobody should have to put up with that. I don’t believe she is going to stop that so that is we are asking the court to get involved. Mr. Adi is just a very kind caring and gentle person. he’s not going to lash out at a woman. it’s just not his culture. That’s not how he reacts. It’s really sad he’s had to endure this. We are just hoping he can get some relief from her aggression.”

Boddy’s attorney, Robert Croskery, rejects that in a statement to FOX19 NOW:

“This attempt by one Lakota School Board member to silence a fellow Board member, Darbi Boddy, who has called him out for his hypocrisy, is a sad reflection, on the local level, of the same abuse of the legal system we see on the national level.

“This is the latest in a string of frivolous attacks, misleading leaks, falsehoods, and slanders against her for speaking conservative truths. Darbi will continue to do the job she was elected to do, protecting Lakota’s parents’ and children’s rights.”

Boddy has been the subject of many controversies since she joined the school board in January 2022.

She was elected after campaigning on a platform opposing Critical Race Theory, which Lakota officials have repeatedly said is not in the schools. Boddy also is a staunch believer in and insists on parents’ rights.

While Boddy clearly has supporters, a recall effort has been underway to try to remove her from the school board for more than a year.

In the spring of 2022, a school resource officer served Boddy a letter notifying her that she was trespassing when she showed up, unannounced, at two schools in Liberty Township: Lakota East High School and Liberty Early Childhood School. The letters warned her if she did it again, she would be formally charged.

She took several photos inside the schools, from civil rights timeline projects of students to messages that all are accepted in the building or classroom, FOX19 NOW has confirmed. Some of the photos also show projects that appear to have a rainbow-colored theme.

Boddy claimed in a Facebook post that she did not sneak into the schools and the visits were not a secret.

More recently, Lakota’s former superintendent, Matt Miller, quit early this year and blamed Boddy for being on a “crusade” that “destroyed my career.”

Boddy told FOX19 NOW in an interview at the time she felt Miller was not fit to be the superintendent. Allegations that originated from his ex-wife were investigated by the sheriff’s office last year.

Miller told a sheriff’s detective during an interview that he and his ex-wife engaged in consensual sexual encounters while they were married with other consenting adults, not minors, according to the investigative report and a copy of his interview transcript.

But the investigative report also states Miller said he and his ex-wife would “role play” and engage in “pillow talk” and, on one occasion, that included a discussion of “drugging, molesting and recording three juveniles but that was during a role-play/pillow talk session.”

The sheriff’s office announced a year ago this month they were closing that case as well after consulting prosecutors with no charges being filed.

Most of the school board publicly supported Miller during the investigation and a separate one the district paid for that also determined no laws were broken.

Still, Miller left soon after the new year, writing in his resignation letter to the school board that Boddy created “a nightmare” for him and his family and the rest of the board did not protect him from “her harassment, which continues to this day.

“Her crusade to force me to resign is direct retaliation for my efforts to protect Lakota students of all genders and races from her destructive efforts.”

Boddy has “outright lied about me in public meetings, executive sessions and in official interactions with citizens,” Miller wrote.

Adi’s request for the protection order says his relationship with Boddy turned sour after they had “confrontational phone calls and she sent “bullying” text messages to him right after they were elected to the school board, from Nov. 16, 2021, through Jan. 8, 2022.

“While these texts do not seem threatening on their own face, it was how the bullying started,” he wrote, “as these texts come after confrontational phone calls to me from Ms. Boddy. After the confrontational telephone calls from Ms. Boddy, for which she apologized, I decided not to communicate with her, so to avoid conflict.

“While we still had to have contact during school board meetings, I tried to limit my contact with her.”

Copies of the text messages showing her apologies are attached to his request for the civil protection order.

“Issac, I apologize for the way I handled the conversation yesterday,” one reads.”I did not understand what you where (sic) trying to accomplish. I thought you where (sic) agreeing w/the other side. Now I realize what you were doing.

“I do understand the other side. We have been dealing with them for over 2 years. I get where you’re coming from though. Hope you have a great weekend and I will let you know how our conversation goes with Matt (Miller, Lakota’s superintendent at the time.)”

Then, in April of this year, Adi continued in his request for the civil protection order, Boddy “was abusive towards me” three separate times in front of groups of people during a leadership conference they both attended in Florida in April.

Their attendance at the “Learn Right: Education Leaders Summit” hosted by the Leadership Institute in Sarasota, Fla., was sponsored by the Lakota School Board, according to court records.

Adi attached an email outlining the incidents that he sent to the Leadership Institute in Sarasota shortly after the conference, which he said he attended for “training,” because it described “Ms. Boddy’s harassing confrontations at the conference that led to my anxiety and concern for my safety. Also attached, is an email to me from another conference attendee, confirming Ms. Boddy’s actions.

“At all three attacks on me at the conference, Ms. Boddy was loud, rude and made numerous false statements about me. Most concerning was her falsely accusing me, in front of the group, of supporting and protecting a pedophile.

“Ms. Boddy’s attacks on me at the Leadership Institute conference had nothing to do with the conference topics. She just took advantage of having a microphone to publicly demean and insult me with her lies.”

In his email to the Leadership Institute, he wrote that he repeatedly went to security during the conference for help after she yelled false allegations out at him, including once when “she grabbed the microphone from the presenters and publicly again harassed me and abused my integrity.”

But, he wrote, it did no good, even when he went to the police: “Nothing happened to her, nobody defended me from this individual who openly abuse(d) my integrity.”

Another educator who attended the conference, Melody Bolduc, lead teacher, founder and CEO of Keys Educational Resource Center in Jacksonville, Fla., wrote an email to Adi on June 23.

Her email documented that she attended the conference, met him there and recorded some of one of his alleged encounters with Boddy after a speaker finished a presentation and was taking questions.

“Rather than ask a relevant question, this blonde woman who was otherwise strikingly beautiful and professional in appearance unleashed an sic) verbal assault on Mr. Adi that she read directly off her cell phone,” Bolduc wrote.

“She accused him of not being a conservative and of supporting and protecting a pedophile, along with a litany of other things. She pointed at him backwards (sic) across the table. Mr. Adi was just a few rows behind me and a few seats over, and I saw the look on his face and was just so grieved over how sad he looked.

“No one said anything. No one stopped her from speaking. I began taking video and caught the tail end of her diatribe. She finished her lengthy statement and sat down, never having asked a question. She was largely ignored, though there was an uncomfortable buzz and the microphone was brought to the next person to comment. One of the ladies sitting near me observed aloud that the same woman had done the same thing in an earlier seminar during the summit. I should note that the seminar was being recorded by the Leadership Institute, so I hope they will have a full recording that can be obtained by Mr. Adi’s attorney.”

Bolduc wrote that she approached Adi after the session and apologized for the woman’s “rudeness and that nothing was done by the hosts. Isaac told me that everything she said was a lie and began showing me his social media to try to prove she was lying. I told him that it didn’t really matter whether she was telling the truth or lies; her behavior was unprofessional and completely uncalled for. I was shocked to learn that she sits beside him on the Lakota School Board. I looked them up on the website for the district and was able to identify the woman as Darbi Boddy. This is not the behavior becoming of an education leader or a public figure. Isaac shared with me that she had done this three times that day, which is harassment, pure and simple. Whether it is slanderous would have to be determined by those who know Mr. Adi better than I do.

“I was impressed by Mr. Adi’s demeanor and his graceful response to everything that occurred. I encouraged him to sit with me and my friends when we went back into the general meeting in case she decided to attack him a fourth time, and fortunately, she did not.

“I’m not sure if someone from the Leadership Institute addressed her behavior, but I hope they did. I noticed that most people avoided her for the rest of the conference, while Isaac was recognized by one of our Congressmen (from prior correspondence between them) as a patriot. I’m not sure of anything else I can do to help Mr. Aldi, but I hope all of this will be sorted out and know in my heart that his character will outshine all of this ugliness.

“Isaac, please keep me updated, and please let me know if there is anything more I can do. I will be praying for this situation.”

The third and final incident Adi cites with his protection order request is one that resulted in Boddy filing an assault report against him with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office on June 13 as they left a school board executive session, according to an incident report.

The sheriff’s office presented the case to the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office, who determined “it didn’t meet the elements of assault, so we closed it out,” Lt. Joe Fuller said.

In her complaint to the sheriff’s office, Boddy alleged Adi told her “Your brain is empty” during the executive session so she took out her phone and started recording as they walked out of the building.

She tried to get him to say it on camera but he said he didn’t tell her that and kept walking, according to a video she posted on Facebook on June 22 (one day before Bolduc sent her email to Adi documenting their encounter at the conference).

Adi told her: “You are videoing me?” and appeared to swat Boddy’s phone away, asking: “Why are you videoing me?”

She accused him of assaulting her, telling him: “Don’t assault me. You just − you’re assaulting me. You just assaulted me on camera.”

He asked her again why she was recording him.

“Because you speak very badly to me,” she responded, according to the video.

They kept walking and he denied again that he said it.

“So now you’re lying?” Boddy asked, according to the video. “Because you know you’re being caught doing something you’re not supposed−”

The video cuts off at that point.

When she posted the video to Facebook, she wrote: “At least twice now Isaac Adi has assaulted someone for merely attempting to record what he is saying to them. I’m posting this because I think it’s important to expose abusive people like this contemporaneously when possible.”

Adi recalled the incident differently in his civil protection order request:

“After the Florida conference, Ms. Boddy and I attended the Lakota School Board meeting together on June 13th. After the meeting, I purposely stayed back to let her leave so that I would not have to be alone with her. She left the school board building. I waited a few minutes before leaving, to insure (sic) she was gone.

“As I was leaving the building Ms. Boddy came back into the building and aggressively got into my face. I tried to walk away from her and leave the building. As I was walking out the door with my back towards her, I turned around to make sure the door would not hit her. At that time, she put her cell phone in my face and demanded that I answer her questions while she was recording the event. I then left the building and went to my car. (This encounter was recorded),” he wrote. “Ms. Boddy posted information about the occurrence on social media and contacted the (media).

Lyons said Adi would have requested the protection order sooner than two months after that encounter, but Adi was out of the country in Africa.

However, two days after Adi filed his court papers seeking the order, Lyons said Boddy was confrontational with Adi again at a school board meeting, asking why he left the room, recording and challenging him when she had “no business” to do so.

Lyons is the sitting, part-time judge for Butler County Area 1 Court in downtown Oxford. He was appointed in 1999 and has served in the area court ever since, for more than 20 years now.

He’s also had a law practice in West Chester Township for years and is allowed to represent clients as long as the cases are not in his court, according to Ohio’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

State Sen. George Lang, R-West Chester Township, is upset to see another Lakota school board controversy.

“I think it is unfortunate that our board at Lakota is so dysfunctional. Our primary focus should be on academic excellence to our students and fiscal responsibility to our taxpayers,” he tells FOX19 NOW.

FOX19 NOW Legal Commentator Mike Allen said Adi’s request for the protection order “could meet the elements of menacing by stalking. You have to show a pattern of conduct that causes mental distress.”

It’s not a good sign, however, he added, that the magistrate denied Adi’s request for an emergency, “ex parte” order.

“Those are usually granted,” Allen notes.

He said he has not seen tensions on school boards rise to this level before, where there are allegations of essentially menacing by stalking.

But, in general, he said, school board meetings across the nation are growing more contentious amid debates over issues like transgender student policies, anti-transgender policies, critical race theory and parents’ rights.

‘It’s not a good thing but it is what it is,” Allen says. “When it bleeds over into something like this, that’s when the courts have to get involved. I’m sure there will be a full hearing. Both sides are represented by very competent legal counsel. They will just have to battle it out in court.”

If the civil stalking protection order is granted, Allen says that’s “opening a can of worms” when it comes to any distance requirements that might be ordered to keep one school board member away - even possibly public meetings that both are elected to attend in person.

“I don’t know what they do about that,” Allen said. “Every one of these cases that I’ve seen there is a distance requirement. When the school board sits down at a meeting, I don’t know what you do about that. It’s fraught with potential problems of enforcement. Man, that’s a can of worms.”

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