Lawsuit Growing Against Arlington ISD Over Mysterious Illnesses at Nichols Junior High

A lawsuit is growing against the Arlington Independent School District over mysterious illnesses at Nichols Junior High School.

More parents joined the suit at a meeting Tuesday night, hoping to force the district to clear everyone out of the school until they find a cause for the symptoms.

A handful of teachers who've actually left their jobs because of how sick they felt in the school building attended the meeting as well.

Those who remain say they don't think their concerns are being taken seriously enough, and that they're still getting sick.

"I felt nausea and my head, dizziness, wobbly knees and overall just real pressure in my stomach, felt like someone was just punching me in my stomach over and over again," said eighth grader Jessica Stephens, describing her recent symptoms.

She and her family are part of the lawsuit, and they're among more than 70 people who've made more than 500 complaints of illness at Nichols since September.

About a dozen have now joined the lawsuit, led by the NAACP. They're seeking an emergency order to make the district move students and staff to another building while they keep looking for a cause.

Arlington ISD has brought in outside experts, including Tarrant County Public Health and the Environmental Protection Agency, to run a constant series of tests over the past six months.

They've fixed some minor mold and air quality issues, but nothing has revealed a serious problem. And until that changes, they're not planning to move.

One parent, whose daughter has had serious headaches, now plans to join the suit after what she heard Tuesday night.

"I just feel like I needed to be part of this situation, because my daughter is there Monday through Friday, and she's supposed to be there to learn," said parent Sophia Smith.

Her daughter, Isyss Smith, added, "Our teachers are either, they either get fired or they quit, or they're sick so they don't come to school because they don't feel safe."

The district says it is continuing to run tests and doing everything they can. They say reports of illnesses have dropped off over the past several weeks.

The families are planning a protest at the Arlington school board meeting Thursday night.

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