School District Sued for Trying to Let Fewer Asian-Americans Into Elite High School


A conservative legal group sued a northern Virginia school district on March 10, arguing that its attempts to get more black and Hispanic students into a selective public high school discriminate against Asian-Americans.

The Pacific Legal Foundation’s lawsuit against the Fairfax County School Board was prompted by the school system’s decision to overhaul the admissions process at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

Located in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, the high school is frequently ranked as the best in the country. The student body is 70 percent Asian-American.

The school board voted last year to eliminate a standardized test that had been a key part of the evaluation process. It also set aside a specific number of spots at Thomas Jefferson for students at each of the middle schools in the county.

Board members have said they hope the new process increases the number of minorities in the student body.

Teacher Who Allegedly Befriended and Raped a Minor Rearrested After Victim Receives Appalling Message

The lawsuit alleges that the reserved spots will end up hurting Asian-American families that are clustered in a handful of middle schools that currently send large numbers of students to “TJ,” as the school is known.

Erin Wilcox, a lawyer with the Pacific Legal Foundation, said at a news conference that the policies themselves are discriminatory, but the intent is made even more clear by statements from board members who said they want the changes to result in a more diverse student body.

“The discriminatory intent they’ve shown is intertwined and an inseparable part of the policies they put in place,” Wilcox said.

The school system has said its new process is not discriminatory.

Do you think these new policies discriminate against Asian-American students?

In a statement, the system said it remains “committed to ensuring that all [Fairfax County Public School] students have access and opportunities to reach their fullest potential. It is in that vein that the Board fervently supported removing the historical barriers and inequities faced by students from culturally and ethnically diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, while still ensuring that TJ maintains its high academic standards.”

Filed in federal court in Alexandria, the lawsuit is the second one to challenge the school system’s new admissions policy. A lawsuit in Fairfax County court alleges that the new procedures violate state rules regulating education.

Asra Nomani, a TJ parent who has led opposition to the changes, said the new policies are part of a “growing tide of racism against Asian-Americans.”

She said many TJ families are recent immigrants who came to the U.S. for a chance at equal opportunity.

“These families never could have imagined they would face such injustice in America,” she said.

Journalist Sues NFL for Racial Discrimination, Alleges Offensive Comments from Cowboys and Bills Owners

Similar debates have occurred at other elite public schools, including in New York City and San Francisco.

The lawsuit comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is weighing whether to hear a long-running legal case against Harvard University over whether its admissions polices discriminate against Asian-Americans.

Wilcox said the rules governing K-12 schools are different than those governing colleges, but that a Supreme Court ruling on the Harvard case could affect the TJ lawsuit. As it stands now, lower courts have ruled in favor of Harvard.

[jwplayer P6NOA14C]

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , , , , , ,
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City