Thursday, December 8

Ohio school board member proposes teams must automatically forfeit against teams with a trans athlete

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A group of second-graders sat in the first row of an Ohio school board meeting on Monday night, there to be recognized for their civility and leadership skills.

That didn’t stop one Ohio school board member from completely going off the rails: repeatedly raising her voice, interrupting her colleagues, and attempting to shout down the board president.

The Lakota Local School District Board of Education had barely finished the Pledge of Allegiance when, as seen in video of the meeting, board member Darbi Boddy held up a piece of paper and began yelling about how she was being intimidated by a lawyer representing Matt Miller, the embattled superintendent of the Cincinnati suburb in Butler County.

Darby Boddy

Boddy had to be repeatedly told she was out of order by the board president, causing Boddy to yell more.

Again: in front of 8-year-olds who were in attendance to be recognized for their civility and leadership skills.

That scene was only the precursor to a wild meeting that had Boddy proposing a policy to bar trans athletes from competition and to have Lakota athletic teams automatically forfeit games if an opposing team has a trans athlete on their roster.

Boddy’s proposal for teams to forfeit

Despite Board President Lynda O’Connor’s attempts to focus the meeting solely on the “core competency of student achievement,” Boddy’s focus quickly became clear when she introduced – after the 8-year-olds had left – the following language:

“In recognition of the inherent physical differences between boys and girls, males, and females – as defined by their chromosomal (male XY Female XX) and anatomical distinctions — that represent overt advantages for males over females regarding, physical strength, speed, and endurance:

I move that Lakota’s organized competitive sports for girls will remain exclusive to girls. Boys as defined in this policy may not compete in any organized athletic competition that is or was designated or designed for girls. Furthermore, if at any time one of Lakota’s girls’ competitive athletic teams, are matched with a team that has a biological boy playing on it, Lakota will forfeit that game.

This proposed policy is not meant to interfere with co-ed intramural sports or casual athletic events, or any other sporting events traditionally or specifically designated as co-ed. It is designed as a safeguard against girls’ sports being rendered obsolescent.”

In speaking in support of her own proposal, Boddy three times referred to the “threat” of “transgender males” causing injury to girls in sports.

Following Boddy’s remarks, O’Connor began to question Boddy on the specifics of her proposal, initiating a testy exchange between the two:

O’Connor: How many [trans athletes]are we talking about in Lakota?
Boddy: This isn’t about specifics. I’m just asking that no girls have to compete against a male on a sports team.
O’Connor: Do you know that number?
Boddy: Why? Do you?
O’Connor: I’ll assume that you don’t know. How many in the state?

Rather than answering O’Connor’s question, Boddy attempted to force a vote on her proposal. O’Connor told her that she didn’t have the floor, and thus had no standing force a vote. Boddy just kept yelling that she had a “point of order.”

Seated left to right: Vice President Isaac Adi and President Lynda O’Connor; Standing left to right: Darbi Boddy, Julie Shaffer and Kelley Casper.

“Mrs. Boddy, your decorum is out of order,” O’Connor replied. “Do we need to recess for you to collect yourself?”

Making the scene a bit more surreal, Bodde’s young daughter was crouched under the table for both this exchange and the entire 3-hour meeting.

O’Connor continued her remarks to denounce Boddy’s proposal: that team’s standings would be impacted by forfeiting games, that the policy was impossible to enforce, and that the board had already decided at their August 22 meeting to table policies about trans athletic participation until the state sorted through legislation currently in the Ohio Senate.

Other board members spoke out against Boddy’s proposal.

“I think it’s important to understand that boy sitting in the audience today could not decide to be transgender today and play girls soccer tomorrow,” said board member Kelley Casper.

Before reiterating the board’s previous decision to table this issue, Board Vice President Isaac Adi used his remarks to decry trans students participating in athletics and trans identity as a whole:

“I strongly stand against transgender playing their sport. That should never happen. I disagree with whatever transformation however long it takes to be a female. Even if you do it over 10 years, you are still a boy.”

Ultimately, the board voted down Boddy’s proposal 4-1, with Boddy as the only yes vote.

Public speaks out

Later in the meeting, the public participation section of the meeting featured multiple community members speaking out against Boddy.

One parent labeled Boddy’s motivations as stemming from hate.

“There has been a lot of talk in our community from Mrs. Boddy that stems from a place of hate and ignorance,” said Alex Argo. “Since her time on the board began, Mrs. Boddy has been working to undermine the reputation of this district whether it is wasting time with resolutions that are based on made-up science, trying to take opportunities away from students in the Ohio High School Athletic Association or struggling to read her prepared scripts…tonight, Mrs. Boddy even suggested that female athletes just forfeit games based on her hate.”

Other community members called for Boddy to be removed from Lakota’s diversity committee, citing her testimony at a State Board of Education meeting earlier this month when she referred to trans individuals as “abominations,” “pure evil,” and “repulsive.”

Boddy was censured by the Board in April after she posted links to sexual content on Facebook. Boddy claimed the links were a typo, but said they were representative of the pornography being taught in the schools. 🔥

About Author

Ken Schneck is the Editor of The Buckeye Flame. He received the 2021 Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for the LGBTQ Journalist of the Year from the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists. He is the author of "Seriously, What Am I Doing Here? The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew" (2017), "LGBTQ Cleveland" (2018), "LGBTQ Columbus" (2019), and "LGBTQ Cincinnati" (2020). In his spare time, he is a professor of education at Baldwin Wallace University.

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2 Comments

  1. This is possibly the most evidently biased written article I’ve read in a long time. Clearly the author already has an opinion and rather than letting readers make their own it’s written in such a way to devalue any opposing ideas.

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