Arlington ISD is facing a lawsuit for refusing to hold a public hearing about its policies pertaining to gender and sexual orientation.

David Jarvis, a resident in the district, sent Arlington ISD’s superintendent and board of trustees a list of questions about its handling of policies regarding same-sex attraction, gender identity, and access to bathrooms and locker rooms for transgender students. He told the Texas Scorecard that his questions were repeatedly ignored, so he followed up by filing a Level One grievance against the district and, eventually, a lawsuit.

Jarvis said he continued to file grievances against the district for a year and a half as his requests were ignored. He received a Level Four grievance hearing before the Arlington ISD school board on June 8, 2023. The board, however, voted unanimously to switch the open meeting to a private session. They had security remove meeting attendees from the room before Jarvis’ presentation, which they justified by citing the Texas Government Code.

The board allegedly claimed in this closed-door meeting that Jarvis was targeting specific employees through his grievance. Although Jarvis promised to withhold the identity of employees and focus only on specific misconduct, Dennis Eichelbaum, the school district’s attorney, allegedly overruled his objection and ended the meeting, according to the Texas Scorecard.

Jarvis then filed a lawsuit against the district for violating the Texas Open Meetings Act.

“They see themselves as guardians of the public trust. But they’re not. That’s just not true. They don’t guard the public trust. They betray the public trust. They undermine the public trust by refusing to communicate with parents and taxpayers on critical issues,” Jarvis told Texas Scorecard.

Arlington ISD isn’t the only North Texas school system that seems to have a problem with transparency when it comes to sensitive issues like policies pertaining to gender. As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Dallas ISD has seemingly been dragging its feet in responding to open records requests inquiring about its partnership with a transgender clinic in the city.

Melody Fowler, the president of Arlington ISD’s school board, said she stands by the district’s decision.

“Arlington ISD has received notice of a lawsuit filed by Mr. David Jarvis. After careful review, the Board of Trustees stands by its decision to move the grievance hearing referenced by Mr. Jarvis to a closed session. The law allows the district to close a hearing if the grievance is against a district officer or employee, which was the case,” Fowler told Texas Scorecard.

Jarvis said he would dismiss the lawsuit if the board gave him an open hearing.

“You want us to trust you, the board, with our vote, but you refuse to trust us, the voters, with the truth?” Jarvis told Texas Scorecard. “This is the big picture. We have a board that shows a lack of respect to the taxpayers and the parents by refusing to answer simple questions.”