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Court allows controversial school admissions policy to continue

An elite public high school accused of discriminating against Asian American students will be allowed to continue its controversial admissions policy, reports Fox5 News.

A federal appeals court ruled that Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, VA will be allowed to keep the status quo while it appeals a U.S. District Court ruling.

“We commend the court for correctly recognizing the importance of maintaining a system that provides all students with a fairer chance to compete for admission to TJ, including Black and Latino students, as well as low-income and English Language Learner students, including Asian American students,” said Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC in a statement sent to AsAmNews. “Allowing TJ’s admissions process to proceed — without the $100 application fee, admissions test, or recommendation letters, but with a guarantee of admission to the top 1.5% of the eighth-grade class at each middle school in Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Arlington County, and Falls Church City, respectively — was the correct decision.”

The Appeals court stayed a ruling by Judge Claude Hilton that rejected Jefferson’s admission standards as impermissible racial balancing.

“There is irreparable harm when you allow a tainted process to continue,” said former TJ parent Asra Nomani with Coalition for TJ to Fox5. “We all want to uplift students but you can’t do it by targeting some students and practicing discrimination,” she said.

In making his ruling, appeals court Judge Toby Heytens wrote that he expects Hilton’s ruling to be overturned and said he has “grave doubts” that the current policy is discriminatory in both intent and impact.

Judge Allison Jones Rushing, in her dissenting opinion, said students would benefit from a new admissions policy “not tainted by unconstitutional discrimination.”

According to ABC7, the Coalition for TJ is prepared to take the case all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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