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Lakota school board member wants to ban trans girls from athletics and the girl's bathroom

Lakota board member Darbi Boddy at Community Listening Session
Zack Carreon
Lakota board member Darbi Boddy at Community Listening Session

At Monday's Lakota Local Schools Board of Education meeting, board member Darbi Boddy attempted to present a motion requesting the board adopt apolicy banning transgender girls from using the girl's bathroom.

The proposal received backlash from parents in the district who showed up to the meeting early to attend the board's newly established Community Listening Session and express their disdain for the motion and Boddy's attempts to target trans children. The sessions, which started last month with the intention to give the public time to address the board directly before the meeting starts, replaced public comments during the meeting after shouting matches between speakers drastically extended the length of many board sessions.

Despite the strong response from Lakota parents, Boddy was determined to have the board discuss and vote on the motion at Monday's meeting but instead, board president Lynda O'Connor proposed an amendment tabling the motion.

O'Connor suggested the motion be sent to the board's policy committee for review before it was discussed during a regular board meeting. Board members voted 4 to 1 in favor of O'Connor's amendment.

Boddy then clashed with her fellow board members for the rest of the meeting over the decision.

She claimed her motion will protect girls at Lakota Schools from harassment and assault by transgender students while in the bathroom. When questioned by reporters about her reasoning for the proposal, Boddy claimed parents in the district told her about incidents of trans girls spying on students inside of bathroom stalls.

"There's boys in our girl's bathrooms and they're making our students uncomfortable and there's been an incident where they're peeking through the doors," Boddy said.

When asked where these reports were coming from, Boddy was unable to specify approximately how many incidents she had heard about, and why the alleged incidents had only been reported to her instead of school authorities.

Toward the end of the night, board member Kelley Casper pushed back against Boddy's claims saying she was trying to grab media attention and disrupt meetings by stirring up political controversy without credible evidence.

"You are out here speaking [about] things that you know nothing about. You don't know the truth. You're listening to social media," Casper said. "There are not thousands of people out there looking under stalls."

Boddy also made a point to signal her disapproval of trans students participating in sports.

She was the lone member in Monday's meeting to vote against Lakota Schools being a member of the Ohio High School Athletic Association in the 2023-2024 school year. Boddy says this is because of OHSAA's existing rule that allows transgender girls to participate in girls' athleticsafter completing a year of hormone treatment. She says this policy puts girls in danger.

Boddy's reasoning was quickly dismissed by the board and interim superintendent Robb Vogelmann explained to her why being an OSHAA member is essential for student safety.

"As a parent of a student who participates in sports, I would never want to play against a team who is not part of the OSHAA because there are no eligibility background checks that would be consistent," Vogelmann said. "You don't know where those coaches are coming from. They're not abiding to a common standard set by the OSHAA and they wouldn't be able to compete in state tournaments."

Boddy's proposed transgender bathroom motion will now head to the board's policy committee for further review.

The Lakota Board of Education's next meeting is set for May 1.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.