Judge Grants Darbi Boddy Permission to Attend School Board Meetings, With Some Conditions

Boddy risked losing her board seat because of the stalking order, but a group of concerned parents and citizens are still working on unseating her.

click to enlarge Lakota School Board member Darbi Boddy - Photo: Boddy for Lakota on Facebook
Lakota School Board member Darbi Boddy
Darbi Boddy, the Lakota School Board member known for stoking tensions in her crusade against "woke" culture, will be allowed to attend Monday night's school board meeting, despite a civil protection order.

Whether Boddy could attend any future board meetings came into question on Sept. 20 when a Butler County judge issued a civil stalking protection order against Boddy to protect fellow board member Isaac Adi.

Adi, who once campaigned alongside Boddy, told the judge he had experienced a months-long pattern of targeted harassment from Boddy that was causing his health to deteriorate.

New rules

Following the initial ruling, Boddy said her legal team would appeal the "ridiculous" protection order. Boddy's lawyer filed an emergency motion to partially suspend the order last week, which was approved, with conditions, by the same judge who signed off on the initial stalking order.

Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Greg Howard ruled that Boddy can now attend meetings with Adi, but she cannot communicate with Adi "unless necessary." She must also wait until five minutes after Adi leaves before exiting meetings.

The order otherwise remains in place outside of board meetings, meaning Boddy can't go within 500 feet of Adi or into any place where she knows Adi will be. She's also prohibited from contacting him or anyone to harass him.

From friends to foes

Boddy first ran for Lakota School Board alongside Adi, a fellow Republican, in 2021. They appeared on the Butler County Republicans' slate card and appeared at campaign events together. Like Boddy, Adi ran a campaign that stood against Critical Race Theory, but in an August interview with CityBeat, said he's yet to find any proof of a curriculum that matches Boddy's description of CRT at Lakota Schools.

“Some board members started to create lies, saying some things that are not there,” Adi said. “But the question is, where is it? Show me. Give us evidence."

Their relationship quickly soured once Boddy began intensely crusading against CRT, a lens through which scholars explain how racial bias is inherent in many parts of western society, especially in its legal and social institutions. Boddy is also known to rail against all things gender-inclusivity related, diversity programs, and anyone who remotely pushed back against her, including Adi.

In April 2023, Adi and Boddy attended a conservative leadership conference in Florida, during which Boddy confronted Adi in front of hundreds of attendees by reading prepared statements where she claims Adi is not conservative enough, according to court documents.

“As [Boddy] saw their beliefs diverge, she felt it necessary to act in a manner so as to make [Adi] see the error of his ways and convince him to, once again, align with her,” the judge writes. “[Boddy] was often the only board member voting against certain issues, issues she felt [Adi] should be in agreement with her on. Rather than try to work through their differences, or respect [Adi's] possible change of beliefs, [Boddy] took every opportunity to exert pressure, bully, and, at times, punish [Adi] by embarrassing him in front of others.”

Boddy previously told CityBeat that she respects Adi.

"I respect Isaac and I wish him well," Boddy said. "I will continue to carry out my responsibilities as an elected board member."

A June incident previously reported by CityBeat was also outlined in the court's decision. Boddy posted a video to Facebook on June 22 where she is recording Adi as she follows him out of a board meeting, confronting him for allegedly telling Boddy her “brain is empty.” Adi can be seen pushing Boddy's phone away, prompting Boddy to tell Adi, “You just assaulted me.” Boddy filed an assault report with Butler County Sheriff’s Office, who ultimately determined the incident was not an assault, closing the investigation.

The court also said Boddy confronted Adi in August at a board committee meeting, two days after Adi requested the protection order. She again recorded him during the interaction.

"At some point [Adi] stepped out to take a work related call. Upon his return, [Boddy] proceeded to, according to one of the witnesses, badger [Adi] about his absence. She repeatedly asked him about his absence, to which he kept responding that he did not answer to her," the order reads. "Not satisfied with his answer, she pulled out her phone and appeared to start videotaping [Adi]. Shortly thereafter, [Adi] started to show signs of distress."

The campaign to remove Boddy

Had Judge Howard denied Boddy's motion to partially remove the stalking order, Boddy could have been removed from the school board for failure to attend required meetings. But just because she's in the clear now, doesn't mean her seat is totally secure.

A signature campaign to remove Boddy from her seat on the board far predates Adi's recent protection order.
Rachel Zipperian is one of the organizers behind removedarbiboddy.com. She recently told CityBeat the protection order against Boddy exemplifies what the campaign has been complaining about all along.
"Our petition to have her removed was always about based on her behavior, her conduct. It's definitely consistent. We need about 1,500 more Lakota resident signatures to be able to take legal action from our end."

So far, the petition campaign’s website says they have 69% of the needed signatures (up from 60% in August) to advance to the next step, which is a formal legal process before a judge in the Butler County Court of Common Pleas.

Boddy told CityBeat in August that she’s not worried about the removal petition. She said it’s just “what the political left does.”

“It's a misinformation and smear campaign, and if they ever try to advance it will be proven to be just that,” she said.

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About The Author

Madeline Fening

Madeline Fening is CityBeat’s investigative news reporter. Proudly born and raised in Middletown, she attended Bowling Green State University before moving to Austin, Texas where she dabbled in documentary filmmaking, digital news and bartending. Madeline then moved to Cincinnati to work for WCPO 9 News as an...
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