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  • Caitlyn Burge-Surles

Arlington ISD Violates Texas Law by Closing School Board Meeting

Frank Heinz, NBC 5 News

A press release from nonprofit Citizens Defending Freedom revealed on Friday that Arlington ISD violated the Texas Open Meetings Act by closing off its June 8 school board meeting in order to avoid a public conversation about student gender issues.

The conversation would have comprised grievances filed by David Jarvis, a veteran lieutenant colonel and military judge. Jarvis had previously called AISD’s attention to their “failure to provide transparency or responsiveness to the public” regarding issues such as pronoun use and gender identity, according to the press release.

Although AISD’s agenda for the school board meeting on June 8 featured Jarvis’ grievances, the meeting itself was unexpectedly closed to public viewing, using reasoning that an exemption in the Texas Government code that allowed for this closure since the school board asserted that Jarvis would complain about an AISD employee or elected official. Jarvis had previously informed AISD that he would make no such specific complaint.

Jonathan Hullihan, General Counsel and Director of Legal Operations for Citizens Defending Freedom, is quoted in the press release saying “I am curious why this statutory exemption was cited, and I wonder if AISD is aware of the recently enacted statute that a government body may not prohibit public criticism of the government body, including criticism of any act, omission, policy, procedure, program, or service . . .”

AISD’s meeting closure follows the recent forcible removal of another veteran and citizen from a Fort Worth ISD school board meeting, in which school board members took issue with the citizen reading from FWISD library books containing pornography.

Citizens Defending Freedom self-identifies on their website as “a Christian-based non-profit organization” believing “that the biblical principles which are the basis of, and woven throughout the foundational documents of our great nation are paramount in the success of the United State of America.”


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