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Virginia high school withheld academic awards for equity reasons, parents claim

"[T]his is another form of this race to the bottom that the schools are going through right now."

Published: December 28, 2022 3:48pm

Updated: December 28, 2022 4:55pm

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Virginia, reportedly delayed notifying its students of their receipt of certain academic achievement awards until after the deadlines for early selection at some colleges and universities, which many parents have alleged was done as part of the school district's alleged efforts to create "equal outcomes for every student, without exception."

The school received awards from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation in October 2022, but did not pass them on to their student recipients until the following month, after many early application deadlines had already passed, according to Fox News Digital. Accordingly, the honored students were unable to list a highly relevant achievement on their applications.

Parents have described an ongoing "war on merit" within the school district.

Appearing on "Fox & Friends First," on Wednesday, Fairfax County parent Asra Nomani, whose son received a separate Commended Student award in 2020 but allegedly did not receive any notification before his 2021 graduation, said the school had attempted to minimize academic awards.

"This year the entire controversy just blew up because the kids got their certificate, weeks after early college application deadlines, just dropped on their desks as if it was just another piece of paper," she said, adding that "this is another form of this race to the bottom that the schools are going through right now."

"The school wanted to recognize students as individuals, not their achievements, as if the two had to be separated," she went on.

Fairfax County Public Schools has admitted to the late notifications, but asserted that it has made efforts to contact the relevant universities on behalf of their student recipients to update the academic credentials for consideration.

The district told Fox 5 D.C. that "FCPS understands the hard work and dedication of each and every student who competes for college acceptance and scholarship opportunities. Once the issue regarding the fall 2022 notifications was realized, counselors sent emails and made follow-up calls to each college where these students had applied and informed them of the National Merit Scholarship Commendations."

"We are continuing to look into this matter and will take any necessary steps to ensure consistency in appropriate and timely notification of National Merit recognitions going forward," the statement concluded.

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