A hastily called emergency meeting Wednesday saw the Lakota Local Schools Board of Educaton take extraordinary actions in voting to censure colleague Darbi Boddy and also ask for her resignation.
Boddy, however, said before the meeting she has no intention of resigning. When WCPO asked her for comment afterward, she called the meeting "a circus" and repeated that she will not resign.
The rare and quick action by the Lakota Board of Education Wednesday is the latest and most explosive confrontation between the first-year office holder Boddy and fellow board members since she was sworn on to the board in January.
Wednesday’s short meeting ended with Boddy walking out in protest, saying the actions by her colleagues are politically motivated due to her conservative political views and those of the supporters who elected her to the board.
Prompted by Boddy’s postings Tuesday and Wednesday morning on Facebook criticizing Lakota for its sex education instructional program, which initially contained a link to a pornographic site that she said later was a typo, the board quickly convened hours after the posting to take action against her.
Boddy, who attended the meeting with her young daughter, listened as Lakota School Board President Lynda O’Connor read from a statement listing a series of criticisms against Boddy, which included accusations she has misrepresented information about the district’s programs and inappropriately criticized in a personal manner Lakota officials.
Boddy’s behavior “had crossed the line,” said O’Connor, who has on repeated occasions during some previous board meetings cautioned Boddy to temper the personal nature of accusations against district officers and to adhere more to the procedures for public discussions required by state law for local school board meetings.
“Differences of opinions” are expected and desirable, said O’Connor.
But she said Boddy has continued to show “a lack of due diligence.”
Moreover, O’Connor said Boddy has misrepresented the district’s actions for an upcoming curricula audit in her claim it was a board action taken without public discussion.
“I’ve called today’s emergency meeting … to ask the board to censure Mrs. Boddy for making false statements about Monday’s meeting (which was not planned to be a curricula audit discussion but rather a financial forecast meeting).”
In calling for Boddy’s censure, O’Connor also accused Boddy of making the “absurd and false accusation that this district includes pornographic material in its curriculum.”
Even if the pornographic link was posted inadvertently, the board president said, Boddy demonstrated “gross negligence” and “reckless conduct.”
She then said “several members of the Lakota community were exposed to sexual material.”
And to state such sexually oriented material is used in Lakota schools, said O’Connor, is “deplorable.”
She went on to accuse Boddy of “disrespectful and unprofessional comments” to district officials and other board members.
“This board formally expresses its disapproval of such conduct … through this resolution of censure.”
The censure vote was 4-1 with Boddy voting against it.
Boddy responded by telling the board the action of censure, which does not lessen her board standing or powers, “I object to this politically motivated circus designed as a cover for what is nothing more than a continuation of efforts to shut down conservatives.”
Isaac Adi, who campaigned in the fall with Boddy on a shared platform of opposing inappropriate sex education and Critical Race Theory lessons in schools, which Lakota officials deny are happening, said all board members have to be “responsible for all our actions and our behavior should also reflect that.”
The board then voted 4-0 with Boddy absent from her walk out, to resign.
O’Connor then criticized her for not attending school board training sessions for the newly elected “or even agreeing to meet with me or other district leaders to learn more about the schools (and) you have continued to make public accusations that are neither productive or reflective of the work of the board or of the school district.”
Rick Lewis, president of the Ohio School Boards Association, said under state law board members cannot force a colleague to resign. Such actions, he said, must be generated through a referendum put before voters to decide whether to recall an elected school board member.