Miyares also said his office for civil rights will investigate the controversial admissions process of nationally ranked high schools.
Fairfax County Public Schools denied knowingly keeping award information from students and accused the delay of being a “one-off” error. School staff have since contacted the colleges to which the awarded scholars have applied to update their records.
However, parents say the delay may prevent students from including this distinction in their applications to early decision colleges and compete for opportunities such as scholarships and honors programs. increase. Family groups also allege racial prejudice, as the majority of Thomas Jefferson’s students are people of color.
Youngkin Calls for Investigation of Thomas Jefferson High Student Award Notice
“As long as the withholding of these awards at Thomas Jefferson High School is based on race, national origin, or other status protected under Virginia human rights law, it is illegal,” Miyares said at the new conference. “If the law is broken, my office will protect and defend the civil rights of Thomas Jefferson students and their students. [families]”
Miyares also set his sights on the school’s admissions process, which was adopted in 2020. The process includes a “holistic screening” system that considers factors such as the applicant’s socioeconomic status. The new process also eliminates difficult entrance exams and his $100 application fee and aims to promote diversity, school officials said.
A group of parents has filed a lawsuit, claiming the new admissions process discriminates against Asian Americans, which school officials have repeatedly denied.
The first class of students enrolled under the new system in June 2021 included many low-income, black, and Hispanic students. The nationally ranked high school historically enrolls his single-digit percentage of these demographic groups. However, the number of Asian students has decreased.
Legal challenges to the new admissions system continue, but the Supreme Court said in April that it would remain in place until a ruling was handed down. Before the court stayed, Miyares, along with his 15 other state attorneys general, participated in his parents’ lawsuit, claiming the new admissions policy was illegal.
Miyares on Wednesday called the admissions process “undermining excellence in favor of a system designed to achieve a school system with a favorable balance of races rather than actual racial equality.”
In the first admittance classes under the new system, about 25% of the offers went to low-income students, 11% to Hispanic students, and 7% to black students. These groups previously made up from his 1% to his 5% of Thomas Jefferson’s class. The percentage of offers to white students remained steady at about 22%. Offers to Asian students have decreased from the usual 70% to about 55%.
Hannah Natanson contributed to this report.