Elite high school’s admission policy did not discriminate against Asian Americans, Virginia court rules

Elite high school’s admission policy did not discriminate against Asian Americans, Virginia court rulesElite high school’s admission policy did not discriminate against Asian Americans, Virginia court rules
A Virginia federal court has ruled that Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology’s (TJHSST) admission policy aimed at student diversity did not discriminate against Asian Americans.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond, Virginia, announced its 2-1 ruling on Tuesday, overturning a federal judge’s decision in February 2022 that found the elite public high school’s admission policy illegal and discriminatory against Asian American student applicants.
The challenged admissions policy does not disparately impact Asian American students and… the Coalition cannot establish that the Board adopted its race-neutral policy with any discriminatory intent,” read the ruling written by Judge Robert B. King.
Judge Allison Jones Rushing opposed the Tuesday ruling, writing in her dissenting opinion that the school board “intended to alter the racial composition of the school in exactly this way” after pointing out that the policy had reduced Asian enrollments by 26%.
The latest update is part of a long ongoing legal battle between the Fairfax County School Board and the Coalition for TJ, a group consisting of parents of Asian American students.
John Foster, division counsel for the Fairfax school board, told The Washington Post in a statement that the court made the right decision, adding, “We firmly believe this admission plan is fair and gives qualified applicants at every middle school a fair chance of a seat at TJ.”
Pacific Legal Foundation’s Erin Wilcox, an attorney representing the Coalition for TJ, told The Washington Post that, while they are disappointed by the decision, this would open a door of opportunity for them to forward the case to the Supreme Court.

We know that there are still more classes of students who are applying to TJ and being subjected to this discriminatory policy. So it’s certainly disappointing. But I’m also excited that this is going to give us the chance to move forward with the case and ask this Supreme Court to weigh in.

The Coalition for TJ filed a lawsuit against the school board in January 2022 over its alleged discrimination against Asian American student applicants.
The Fairfax school board changed its admission policy in late 2020 by removing the standardized testing requirements for students applying to its schools.
The policy change resulted in an increase of Black students getting into TJHSST from 1% to 7%, Hispanic students from 3% to 11% and white students from 18% to 22%. Consequently, the number of Asian American students fell to 54% from 73%.
The two parties have been going back and forth on the legal proceedings over the months, with the school board filing an appeal shortly after Judge Claude M. Hilton of the Federal District Court in Alexandria ruled in favor of the coalition in late February 2022.
In response, representatives of the Coalition then filed an emergency petition with the Supreme Court in April, which the latter denied.

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