As Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares investigates potential civil rights violations in the widespread withholding of timely National Merit Scholar award notifications to students in suburban Washington, D.C., possibly on “equity” grounds, a local law professor known for public health crusades is floating a novel legal strategy for aggrieved students. George Washington University’s John Banzhaf says Virginia courts this century have recognized a “somewhat obscure” class of legal claims known as “prima facie torts” that don’t depend on difficult-to-prove allegations such as intentional infliction of emotional distress or racial discrimination.Read More
Attorney General Jason Miyares announced Wednesday a civil rights investigation into Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology amid allegations that school officials suppressed student merit awards until after college early application periods.
“My office will investigate whether the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology administration’s withholding of National Merit Scholarship honors from students violated the Virginia Human Rights Act,” he wrote in a letter to Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid and TJ Principal Ann Bonitatibus, warning that he planned to issue subpoenas if the officials don’t cooperate.Read More
Governor Glenn Youngkin has asked Attorney General Jason Miyares to investigate the administration at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology after allegations that officials downplayed student National Merit awards until after early selection college deadlines.
“We need to get to the bottom of what appears to be an egregious, deliberate attempt to disadvantage high-performing students at one of the best schools in the country,” Governor Glenn Youngkin said in a Tuesday press release. “Parents and students deserve answers and Attorney General Miyares will initiate a full investigation. I believe this failure may have caused material harm to those students and their parents, and that this failure may have violated the Virginia Human Rights Act.”Read More
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Virginia, reportedly delayed notifying its students of their receipt of certain academic achievement awards until after the deadlines for early selection at some colleges and universities, which many parents have alleged was done as part of the school district’s alleged efforts to create “equal outcomes for every student, without exception.”Read More
Governor Glenn Youngkin filled five vacancies on the Board of Education, according to a Thursday afternoon announcement. Youngkin’s appointees include Suparna Dutta, Co-founder of the Coalition for TJ which has been working to protest and block Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology’s controversial new admissions policy. The appointments give him a majority on the board.
“I’m delighted to appoint this group of proven leaders in their respective fields to help ensure every student has a best-in-class education,” Youngkin said in a press release. “I have tasked these innovators to bring their expertise as parents, industry leaders, educators, and policymakers to ensure our classrooms and our campuses prepare studentsRead More
GOP nominee for Virginia’s tenth congressional district Hung Cao said his top priorities if he’s elected to Congress will be the economy and national security.
“We have to stabilize this economy. This is spiraling out of control,” Cao told The Virginia Star. “We have to cut spending. This is not just about my kids and your kids, but our grand kids and our great grand kids. This is going to resonate for years.”Read More
Attorney General Jason Miyares and 15 other state attorneys general have filed an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a federal appeals court decision allowing Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) to use its controversial admissions process while a lawsuit goes forward.
“Right now, there are innocent Virginians unfairly treated and punished not for anything they’ve done, but because of who they are. Thomas Jefferson High School’s new admissions process is state sanctioned bigotry – it’s wrong, and it’s the exact opposite of equality. As Attorney General, I’ll never stop fighting for the equal treatment and protection of all Virginians,” Miyares said in a press release.Read More
A Virginia parent won a legal victory when a Fairfax County judge dismissed four charges of libel and slander with prejudice Friday.
Harry Jackson, a former PTA president of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology who opposed changes to the school’s admissions policy, was facing libel and slander charges in the wake of claiming that a proponent of the new admissions policies exhibited “grooming behavior” on social media. The new policies, which critics have characterized as “race-based,” eliminated standardized testing requirements and were found by a federal judge to discriminate against Asian Americans.Read More
The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay in the lawsuit against Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) on Thursday, with two of the three judges on the panel concurring. The decision allows the school to use its controversial admissions policy for the class of 2026 while the case proceeds.
“I have grave doubts about the district court’s conclusions regarding both disparate impact and discriminatory purpose, as well as its decision to grant summary judgment in favor of a plaintiff that would bear the burden of proof on those issues at trial,” Judge Toby Heytens wrote in the concurring opinion.Read More
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has filed an amicus brief asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to deny a stay after a district court ruled that the admissions policy at Thomas Jefferson (TJ) High School for Science and Technology is discriminatory.
“Thomas Jefferson High School has been consistently among the top public schools in the country, and they created and maintained this achievement with a merit-based admissions process. But over the past year, Thomas Jefferson High School changed their policy to prioritize an individual’s race over merit. By doing so, Thomas Jefferson High School has discriminated against deserving students and violated the Equal Protection Clause. This is not equality,” Attorney General Jason Miyares said in a Wednesday press release.Read More
RICHMOND, Virginia – In a bipartisan 26-13 vote, the Senate passed a stripped-down version of a House of Delegates bill to require race-blind admissions procedures in Virginia’s Governor’s schools; that version will have to go back to the House for approval.
Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) advocated for HB 127 on the Senate floor on Tuesday; he noted that about 90 percent of the House bill had been removed.
“We really are only left with two paragraphs,” Petersen said. “Everything else frankly we did away with. And the two paragraphs, one has to do with no discrimination based on race or ethnicity, which is the current Title IX standard, and the second would just simply say that all school divisions should make sure that each middle school has a program in place to prepare children to apply for Governor’s schools.”Read More
RICHMOND, Virginia – The House of Delegates passed a bill banning consideration of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in admissions to Virginia’s governor’s schools. That’s a reaction to controversy at Thomas Jefferson (TJ) High School for Science and Technology, where officials instituted a merit lottery to try to expand the largely Asian American student base to underrepresented groups while still maintaining a high standard. Conservatives saw that as part of a broader wave of watered-down academic standards in the name of equity, and Republicans campaigned in 2021 on restoring Virginia’s educational standards of excellence.
Delegates debated HB 127 on Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Delegate Richard (Rip) Sullivan (D-Fairfax) said he and his wife spent years as proud TJ Colonials parents.Read More
A parents group is claiming documents obtained in a lawsuit over admissions policies to an elite high school prove that a northern Virginia school board had a bias against students of Asian descent.
Purported discussions among members of the Fairfax County School Board mentioned “an anti asian feel underlying” the pursuit of changes to the admissions process for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST), according to emails, texts, and other documents published by Parents Defending Education (PDE). TJHSST is considered the number one high school in the country by U.S. News and World Report.
“In fall 2020, Fairfax County, Va., school board members said the quiet part out loud,” PDE Vice President for Strategy & Investigations Asra Nomani, wrote in an article on Substack discussing the comments in the alleged discussions.Read More
A group of about 5,000 community members including parents, students, and staff are suing the Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) Board and Superintendent Scott Braband over changes to admission procedures at magnet school Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ). The lawsuit complaint filed Wednesday argues that the changes were meant to reduce the number of Asian-American students at the school.Read More