Attorneys & NAACP File Lawsuit over Mysterious Illness Plaguing School - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Attorneys & NAACP File Lawsuit over Mysterious Illness Plaguing School

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    Attorneys File Lawsuit over Mysterious Illness at School

    Attorneys for the NAACP filed a lawsuit Thursday over a mysterious illness plaguing a junior high school in Arlington. (Published Thursday, March 23, 2017)

    The Arlington Independent School District is responding after the NAACP filed a lawsuit over mysterious illnesses at Nichols Junior High School. They're asking for an emergency order to keep everyone out of the school until a cause is found.

    NBC5 learned on Thursday that there have been more than 500 complaints of illness, including nausea, dizziness and fainting, from 70 different people at Nichols, since this all started back in September.

    The District says those number have dropped significantly in the past few weeks. But until there are zero cases, advocates say no one should be in the school.

    A six-month search for answers at Nichols Junior High is now heading to the courtroom.

    Attys May File Suit over Mysterious Illness Plaguing School

    [DFW] Attorneys May File Suit over Mysterious Illness Plaguing Arlington School

    A lawsuit will likely be filed over a mysterious illness plaguing a junior high school in Arlington. Dozens of Nichols Junior High staff members have reported symptoms like dizziness, headaches and nausea -- only while they're in the school building. It's been happening since September. The district has had outside experts run a battery of air quality and mold tests, but can't figure out what's causing it. 
     

    (Published Wednesday, March 22, 2017)

    "If they're not going to advocate and provide a safe and humane educational environment for those students, we're going to fight for those people," said Simmons, President of the Arlington chapter of the NAACP.

    The Arlington NAACp and its attorneys now have 13 staff members and students' families signed on to a lawsuit.

    NBC5 spoke to one of the parents involved in the suit last month.

    "It's been very hard, I’ve thought about transferring her," said parent Delilah Perreira.

    Her daughter Aaliyah added, "Some teachers who used to get up and walk around, they really just sit there and say, 'Oh, my head hurts. I just don't feel good today.’"

    The district has brought in outside experts to run test after test, and while they've fixed some minor air quality and mold problems, nothing has revealed a serious problem.

    "We continue to monitor but at this point, all of the tests and all of the indications are that the building is not the cause of the symptoms," said Leslie Johnston, Director of Communications for Arlington ISD.

    "They feel like they've done all they can do. We disagree. People are still getting sick," Simmons said.

    The lawsuit calls for an emergency order barring any students and staff from entering the school until a cause is found.

    "There is serious concerns about irreparable harm," said civil rights attorney Lee Merritt.

    Advocates also said that staff members who have spoken out have faced bullying and intimidation.

    "We have made it as easy as possible for them to share their concerns,” said Johnston. “There are systems in place for them to ask to be relocated, or made accommodations for and at this point, I don't believe any of them have done so."

    Arlington ISD gave NBC5 a month-by-month guide, with 30 bullet points showing all the testing and repairs they've done.

    They're still working with the Tarrant County Health Department, the EPA, and outside firms on ongoing tests and have held several staff and parent meetings.

    The NAACP and attorneys are also working with their own expert who believes the district is not testing for the right things. NBC5 spoke with her on Thursday. She's hoping to be allowed in the school to run some tests and the lawsuit seeks a court order to do that.

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