Youngkin asks state attorney general to investigate school that allegedly withheld merit awards

Alleged withholding "may have caused material harm" to students and parents.

Updated: January 3, 2023 - 3:05pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook


Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is asking the state's attorney general to investigation claims that administrators of a prominent Virginia high school withheld merit-based awards from multiple families for years. 

Allegations have swirled that officials at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County covered up merit-based awards for multiple students over at least the last two years. The Washington Examiner reported that one school administrator claimed the school did not want to "hurt" the feelings of students who did not receive an ward. 

In his letter to state Attorney General Jason Miyares, Youngkin said he was "stunned" by allegations that the school had held back merit award notifications "until after important deadlines for college scholarships had passed."

"I believe this failure may have caused material harm to those students and their parents," he wrote the attorney general, "and that this failure may have violated the Virginia Human Rights Act."

Youngkin in his letter urged Miyares  "to use the authority conferred on you by the General Assembly to protect the civil rights of TJHSST students and parents."

In a news release on Tuesday, Youngkin said the state "need[s] 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," he said, "and Attorney General Miyares will initiate a full investigation."