ARLINGTON -- The case of the mystery illnesses at an Arlington school has turned into a case of "he said, she said," with an actual solution nowhere in sight.
For months, some of the faculty and students at Nichols Junior High have been complaining about feeling ill on school grounds. Parents have spoken out, looking for answers.
But Arlington ISD released a strongly-worded statement Wednesday, saying their experts have "spared no expense", "and have concluded that there is no credible evidence that Nichols Junior High has caused anyone's illnesses."
According to the district, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services attributes the reported illnesses to "heightened awareness," "a phenomena where people begin noticing symptoms after hearing others talking about them."
But Lee Merritt, a social activist, and the attorney representing several Nichols parents in a lawsuit against the district says that explanation won't cut it.
"To say that 80% of people are making up passing out, who are making up headaches, nausea, and vomiting, is ridiculous," Merritt told reporters at his Dallas law office Thursday morning. "It's actually an insult."
Merritt says the district won't let him send in his expert to test the school for things that might not have been on the district's list.
"We said we wanted to get our expert in," Merritt said. "She was confident that she'd be able to identify the source of the illness."
But AISD referred to Merritt's expert as "an individual whose opinion was rejected by at least one court and who has previously been accused of fraud," and says their folks are competent enough to conclude the school is safe.
"Essentially," Merritt argued, "They've said 'because we can't find the problem, therefore there is no problem,' and I think that's just poor logic."
See what we mean about the he-said-she-said?
The case could end up in front a judge before this is all over...
Here's hoping the students and staff at Nichols Junior High can breathe easy - sooner rather than later.