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Board of Education Update: Nov. 21, 2022

Board of Education Update: Nov. 21, 2022

At the Nov. 21, 2022 meeting of the Lakota Board of Education, President Lynda O’Connor read the following statement regarding the investigation of Superintendent Matt Miller. The statement was supported by Vice President Isaac Adi and board members Kelley Casper and Julie Shaffer. Board member Darbi Boddy voted in opposition of the statement.

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The members of the Lakota Board of Education would like to address the investigation of Superintendent Matt Miller. 

Consistent with our statement on Sept. 12, the Board has not commented about the specifics of this case because the Board did not want to influence the investigation in any way. Now that all parts of the investigation process are complete, the Board is able to communicate some important details regarding this situation.

First and foremost, Mr. Miller has been cleared of any alleged wrongdoing.

The Board of Education’s highest priority is the safety of its students and staff. The Board takes all allegations seriously. The Board has relied on the findings by the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, as well as its own independent investigation, including a full forensic examination, throughout this process. Had the Board received any credible evidence of misconduct by our superintendent or that he was a threat to our students or staff at any time during the investigation, the Board would have placed him on administrative leave immediately.

But there was no such evidence in this case.

On Aug. 17, 2022, the Board first learned of allegations against the superintendent. The allegations were initiated by a third party and did not come from anyone who identified themselves as a victim. The allegations relied heavily on second and third-hand information and statements and did not come from an eyewitness. Furthermore, the documents provided in support of the allegations could not be verified, nor were they presented in full or in context.

On Sept. 9, Superintendent Miller was publicly cleared of any possible criminal charges by the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, in consultation with the Prosecutor’s office. As an additional step with regards to the safety of our students and staff, and with Superintendent Miller’s full cooperation, the Board publicly announced an independent investigation into the allegations on Sept. 12. 

On Nov. 2, the independent investigator reported that no evidence of wrongdoing was found. In addition to interviews, this process included a complete forensic examination of Superintendent Miller’s professional and personal devices, as well as his cloud storage.

As a final step in this process, and per his contract, Superintendent Miller was evaluated by an independent psychiatrist for a fitness for duty evaluation. On Nov. 14, it was determined that he is unreservedly fit for duty.

While we understand that some members of our community may disagree, the Board is confident that it exercised all due diligence in this matter. These claims against Mr. Miller were found to be false by multiple agencies. These claims appear to have been a personally motivated attack and would not have been brought if he were not the superintendent.

This has been a long and difficult process for the Lakota community. In the United States of America, a person is innocent until proven guilty. With no credible evidence, placing the superintendent on paid administrative leave would have substantially disrupted the district and would have unnecessarily damaged Mr. Miller’s ability to lead. 

The Board will always act in the best interest of the safety of our students and staff. That’s exactly what the Board did in this case, working with the Sheriff’s office, an independent investigator, ordering a forensic examination and requiring a fit for duty examination. 

The Board would like to express its full support of Matt Miller. Superintendent Miller has been an excellent leader of our district and is one of the shining lights in education, both in Ohio and nationally. We appreciate his full cooperation throughout this situation.

While this has been a difficult process, the Board knows that it responded in a way that was in the best interest of our students, staff, families and community. It is now time that the Board’s focus returns to our core work: educating Lakota students.


 

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