Darbi Boddy is Right Again: The SAVE Students Act seeks to separate students from their parents

When I was watching the Lakota school board meeting from February 6th, 2023, on video, I heard the statement from Darbi Boddy regarding the suicide watch program that was being proposed and didn’t think there was anything controversial about it. I also listened to some of the public debate and the counter statement by Julie Shaffer, who is up for re-election this year, and I would expect those types of big government types to find what Darbi was saying disturbing. In the wake of the meeting, there were apparently a lot of people confused about why the topic was even brought up, which in my view, was just a regular topic for a typical school board meeting where the Matt Miller drama was no longer the centerpiece. Then toward the end of that same week, I heard a constant barrage of negative articles in the media done on the story, Darbi’s position on mental health initiatives by Ohio’s SAVE Students Act on suicide watch. She had really hit a nerve because the stories just kept coming. And on Friday of that week, there were top-of-the-news discussions on Clear Channel radio stations discussing it and how there was a petition to remove Darbi from the board again with a signature drive. Several people approached me and said, “your buddy Darbi Boddy is in trouble again; it doesn’t look like she’s going to survive this one. What’s with her?” My reply to them is the same one I’ll address here, “she’s fine. This is the kind of topic they should be talking about in school board meetings, and she brings up a great point, how much parental involvement should there be in these programs, and what role should a school have in the personal lives of the children who attend?” 

Regarding Julie Shaffer, the fellow school board member who offered a counter comment to Darbi’s statement on the SAVE Students Act, I learned about her a long time ago that she represents all the things I personally hate. She and I had debates on WLW radio many years ago about the nature of education in general, and she and I agree on pretty much nothing. And since it’s an election year, there will be time to tell lots of stories about her personal conduct that shows why she thinks the way she does about things.   But the bottom line is that she represents the kind of parents at Lakota who do not have much confidence in their ability to raise their own children, and they want to lean on the crutch of a big public institution to help them deliver good kids into adulthood. I don’t get freaked out about it because she represents a portion of the Lakota population with the same issues with their personal parenting power. And Darbi also represents a significant portion of the Lakota population that believes in old-school parental roles and that the debate they had in a school board meeting regarding the SAVE Students Act was a healthy exchange of ideas which Darbi put forth as a concern from her point of view. Darbi’s argument was that nowhere in the proposal for suicide watch was there a protocol for calling the parents. The fundamental assumption was that the school knew best what to do with the kids, and the parents were thought of as a kind of nuisance or perhaps even the cause of suicide concerns. And by Darbi pointing all that out, it ripped the scab off a concern that all those big government school types have about everything, and that’s the security blanket they all have in the back of their minds. Can they be bad parents and still raise good children if institutionalism can come in like Superman and save everyone? It’s a liberal fantasy that most Democrats have about big government, and essentially what Darbi said popped that bubble of a fantasy in a very public way, and people reacted very violently to it. 

I listened to Darbi’s comments several times and put them here for others to listen to. Darbi is simply saying that the SAVE Students Act should have as a priority a relationship with the parents. As its written, it assumes that parents are part of the problem, which is implied in the text, and she was concerned about the direction it was going, and she brought it to everyone’s attention during the meeting. Her references to the Salem Witch Trials and to Nazis are historical in context and weren’t mentioned just to be an eye-popping revelation. The way that public schools view parental relationships is very much in line with mistakes from history which she pointed out, in separating parents from their children through institutional controls. We have well-recorded incidents of those mistakes from the past, which is why she mentioned them. The fact that we can never talk about Nazi behavior in public unless it is referenced to conservatives is a topic all its own for many other articles. But for this one, the state sponsored the Hitler Youth movment historically and those same sentiments were clearly present in the SAVE Students Act as it was proposed. Parents were not at the center of suicide watch concerns, and they should be. In terrible situations where kids want out of a bad situation so severely that they are thinking of taking their own life, their school relationships would likely be the cause, and parents should know about it. Not to be assumed that bad parents were the cause. Darbi simply wanted to point out that mental health conditions in public school atmospheres should involve a relationship with the parents. The parents might cause the depression, and the school may help those kids. But often, and likely, the situation would be the other way around, and such conditions should trigger parental involvement to provide resolution. Not castigation. 

The violent reaction to Darbi from those on the liberal side of things makes perfect sense; again, I didn’t see anything wrong with it. Obviously, there are strategic reasons for their violent reaction. We just went through six months of drama where the school superintendent admitted in a police report that he had sexual fantasies of drugging, molesting, and videotaping kids who went to the school he managed, and nobody had any problem with that. But their faces melted when Darbi suggested that the parents be the center of any public school interaction with children. It’s obvious what’s going on. There is a political push behind all this to separate children from their parents, with the government stepping in as a kind of gooish blob of liberalism and taking over the parental role. That was the warning Darbi was making, which is perfectly valid. People who want that transfer of power don’t want any opposition to that transaction for whatever reason they think that way.

In many cases, in their own lives to be fair, they lack confidence in their ability to be good parents, and they hope and dream that a taxpayer-funded school will bridge the gap in their parental abilities. They love their children; they just don’t have the confidence in themselves to be a “super parent.” But that is the topic for a school board debate, which is all I saw it to be. Healthy and fruitful. All the rest was political revenge for what happened to Matt Miller. And to those negative participants, I think they will learn that making such a big deal over little issues will only bring forth more like Darbi Boddy, who will want to run for school board and join her on a much-needed crusade to restore parental rights in public education, which is obviously in short supply and in much need of change.

Rich Hoffman

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