On Monday, Jason Miyares, the Attorney General of Virginia, announced that his office would conduct an investigation into all public schools in Fairfax County, over allegations that schools throughout the area have withheld merit awards from winners in the name of “equity.”
As Fox News reports, Miyares had already begun a civil rights investigation on Wednesday into Thomas Jefferson High School after parents complained that the school’s withholding of such awards negatively impacted their students’ college applications, with the awards not being announced until after most application deadlines had passed.
The school did so for the purpose of “equal outcomes for every student, without exceptions.” The school’s Director of Student Services, Brandon Kosatka, confirmed the school’s decision to a parent who confronted him on the matter, saying that the school wanted to avoid hurting the feelings of students who did not win any awards.
“It has come to my attention through public reporting that at least three high schools within Fairfax County Public Schools (‘FCPS’) may have withheld National Merit recognition from students,” Miyares said in his letter to Fairfax Superintendent Michelle Reid. “This alleged behavior may constitute unlawful discrimination in violation of the Virginia Human Rights Act. My office will investigate whether any students’ rights were violated as a consequence of alleged withholding of National Merit recognition by high school administrators or FCPS.”
Miyares confirmed in the letter that if the results of any such awards were withheld due to race, skin color, or nationality, then the schools involved would be guilty of violating state law.
“It’s concerning that multiple schools throughout Fairfax County withheld merit awards from students ,” Miyares said in a statement after announcing the investigation. “My office will investigate the entire Fairfax County Public Schools system to find out if any students were discriminated against and if their rights were violated.”
Miyares was encouraged to launch the investigation by Governor Glenn Youngkin, who said in his own statement that “we need to get to the bottom of what appears to be an egregious, deliberate attempt to disadvantage high-performing students at one of the best schools in the country.”
“Parents and students deserve answers and Attorney General Miyares will initiate a full investigation,” Youngkin added. “I believe this failure may have caused material harm to those students and their parents, and that this failure may have violated the Virginia Human Rights Act.”
FCPS issued its own statement claiming that “the delay this fall was a unique situation due to human error. Should the Virginia Attorney General’s office initiate an investigation, FCPS stands ready to work with our partners at the state level.”
Youngkin and Miyares, along with Lieutenant Governor Winsome Sears, were elected in 2021 as part of a red wave that swept Virginia, primarily due to Youngkin and the others campaigning heavily on the issue of education. Among other things, the successful candidates promised to increase transparency and restore greater authority for decision-making to parents rather than school officials, and to fight back against efforts to indoctrinate students with far-left concepts such as Critical Race Theory and transgenderism.