School board member hires bodyguard after getting harassment over school district’s budget cuts.

For Olentangy school board member Adam White, “the more defense, the better” when it comes to the board’s biweekly meetings.

A personal bodyguard and a sheriff’s deputy sat in on a May 10 school board meeting — measures White said are necessary to ensure his safety.

The bodyguard, a large man wearing a black blazer and sunglasses, sat in the front row; the armed Delaware County deputy sat in the back row as board members discussed district finances and school lunch prices.

White hired both last month after he claims he was threatened by district Superintendent Wade Lucas during a closed meeting of the school board. Later, he alleges, he was followed partway home by a man in a van.

Now, he said, he is concerned for his safety and fears physical harm.

“My life has been threatened,” he said. “I’m harassed at board meetings. It’s a hostile environment and this is protection for myself and my family.”

As of May 10, White said he had paid the sheriff’s deputy $245 to attend board meetings April 26 and May 10, a total of seven hours. Documents released by the sheriff’s office confirm the hours.

According to the sheriff’s office, it costs $35 per hour to contract a special-duty deputy.

White declined to say how much he is paying the personal bodyguard, adding he wouldn’t offer details about who the man is. The man attended the last two school board meetings and also shadowed White at a policy committee meeting May 4.

The May 10 meeting ended peacefully, though there was some verbal sparring among board members after White said he couldn’t attend evening committee meetings because of work conflicts. White works for Atrium Centers, a nursing-home company.

School board members are assigned to attend a monthly volunteer committee meeting and report back to the board as a liaison.

White said the bodyguard and sheriff will shadow him “as long as necessary.”

He said the precautions are a “deterrent” to future harassment after his claims that Lucas said, “Somebody’s going to get you,” in the midst of a heated exchange during a closed session of the school board following the April 11 regular meeting.

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