Wednesday 4 January 2023

Virginia AG Announces Investigation Into Prestigious School That Reportedly Hid Merit Awards From Students

 Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares announced Wednesday an investigation into a prestigious high school after a report showed that the school withheld national merit awards from its students.

Asra Nomani, a parental rights in education activist, reported that administrators at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) had been withholding the National Merit Scholarship commendation, an honor used for college applications and to obtain scholarships, from students who were mostly Asian, in order to not “hurt” the feelings of students who did not earn the award. Miyares made the decision to investigate TJHSST after Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin urged the attorney general Tuesday to look into the high school and the allegations, according to a press release.

“To the extent that withholding of any of these awards at Thomas Jefferson High School was based on race, national origin or any other protected status right under the Virginia Human Rights Act, that is unlawful,” Miyares said in a press conference. “That is why I am announcing today that my Office of Civil Rights is opening an investigation into this very issue.”

Miyares will also be investigating the admissions process at TJHSST for alleged discrimination against Asian American students, he said at the press conference.

TJHSST parents are pushing for administration to be fired over the recent report and met with Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Superintendent Michelle Reid on Dec. 30. After rallying outside of the school on Tuesday, parents met with Reid again to discuss further action. 

“Indeed, we have initiated a third-party, independent investigation into this matter,” FCPS said in a Wednesday statement to ABC 7 News. “Our preliminary understanding is that the delay this fall was a unique situation due to human error. The investigation will continue to examine our records in further detail and we will share key findings with our community.”

Parents are also asking the school to correct the mistake by notifying all affected students and their respective colleges of the withholding of the award.

“When the news broke right before Christmas that Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology had been withholding National Merit awards from qualified students and their families, it broke my heart,” Miyares said at the press conference. “I cannot imagine the agony as a parent. Oftentimes your child’s joy is your joy. To see that joy robbed from your child.”

Post a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search