March 10, 2021

Coalition sues to stop discrimination against Asian students at nation’s top public school

Fairfax, Virginia; March 10, 2021: A coalition of parents, students, alumni, staff, and community members filed a lawsuit today challenging the admissions process changes for Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ) that specifically aim to reduce the number of Asian-American students enrolled.

Until this year, admission to TJ was race-blind and merit-based; requirements included a standardized test, grade-point average, completion of certain math classes, and teacher recommendations. This year, the Fairfax County Public Schools’ board and superintendent adopted an admissions policy aimed at balancing the racial groups at TJ by eliminating the admissions test and capping the number of students allowed from each of the district’s 23 middle schools. The intended result: dramatically reducing the number of Asian-American students admitted to TJ.

Himanshu Verma went to university in India and immigrated to the United States to pursue a better life for his family. His daughter hopes to attend TJ, but that dream is under threat due to the new changes. Using his background in data science, Himanshu found that Asian-American students will lose out, while white students stand to gain the most.

“TJ’s attempts at racial balancing are not only illegal, but they also harm the children they’re supposedly trying to help,” says PLF attorney Erin Wilcox. “The government cannot choose who receives the opportunity to attend public schools based on race or ethnicity. Such actions clearly violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.”

Pacific Legal Foundation represents the Coalition for TJ free of charge. Coalition for TJ v. Fairfax County School Board was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria division.

Case Documents

Complaint
March 10, 2021 Download

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