Virginia’s largest school system says it is considering “all options for filing an appeal” a week after a federal judge ruled on a new admission process to an elite public school that discriminates against Asian Americans.
Virginia’s largest school system said it was considering “all options for filing an appeal.” a week after a federal judge ruled to discriminate against the new admission process to an elite public school against Asian Americans.
Fairfax County School Board Chair Stella Pekarski said on Friday that the board “believes the decision is not supported by law and is considering all options for appeal.”
The county, Pekarsky said, is also asking to remain, which will continue the ongoing application process for 2026 at Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology (TJ) as part of the existing admissions process while the school system considers the next steps. .
The announcement came after U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton ruled last week that “racial balance” was in the center of the plan is to overhaul the school admission process. The school is consistently recognized as one of the best public schools in the country.
Fairfax County School Board in 2020 changed the school admission processremoving the standardized test in favor of a system that allocated the same number of TJ slots to each of the county’s high schools, among other changes.
In his ruling, Hilton wrote: “The discussion of changes in admission has been infected with talk of racial balance from the beginning.”
Although the school has enjoyed a stellar academic reputation for decades, black and Hispanic students have been underrepresented in the student body.
The current TJ freshman class, the first to be adopted under the new policy, reflects significant changes in racial composition. Asian representation fell from 73% to 54%. The percentage of black students increased from 1% last year to 7%. The representation of Hispanics increased from 3% to 11%.
In a statement, Pekarsky stated non-compliance new admission policy on the spot for the current application process “will cause uncertainty and suffering for the current pool of applicants”.
Pekarsky said about 2,500 applicants for the 2026 class “have been thoroughly screened as part of our existing application process, met strict minimum academic criteria, including a GPA of 3.5 or higher, along with enrollment in honors courses and deserve a place in our application process ”.
She said the change in the admissions process “will cause significant disruptions in TJ’s work before the next school year, including decisions about hiring, choosing courses, teaching assignments and curriculum development.”
Asra Nomani, co-founder of the Coalition for TJ, a group of parents who filed a lawsuit through the Pacific Law Foundation, said the county “concluded that they would be stubborn in their insistence on systemic racism by Asian-American students.”
“The judge was very clear that he called for an end to this failed racist process they introduced,” said Nomani, the father of the 2021 TJ graduate. “And they have to retreat, and they have to go back to the old system that they had, that was based on merit and that was blind to race. It has served our community well, and Fairfax County must take responsibility for its failure to black and Hispanic students. ”
Pekarsky said the current admissions process has identified 550 students with high performance in the 2025 class.
“The FCPS believes that our new application process will eventually prove to be in line with all legal requirements,” she said.
contributed to this report.