The attorney general of Virginia Jason Miyares demanded that a Fairfax County middle school stop a college preparatory program that allegedly excluded certain racial groups.
Cooper Middle School administrators initially sent an email out on March 1 to parents inviting students to apply to the school district’s College Partnership Program if they were “Black or African American students” or “Hispanic students, of one or more race,” Fairfax Times reported.
The program also encourages students who are the first in their family to attend college, students with disabilities, English learners and economically disadvantaged students to apply.
Miyares then sent a letter to the school stating that this was unlawful discrimination because of the exclusion of Asian and White students that is prohibited by the Virginia Human Rights Act, according to a news release.
“It’s shocking that we continue to find such blatant examples of racial and ethnic discrimination in the Fairfax County Public School System. Every student should be able to apply for the College Partnership Program and have the same opportunities as their peers, regardless of race,” Miyares said. “I demand that Cooper Middle School, its administrators, and anyone involved in this program stop this illegal discrimination immediately.”
Miyares’ letter demands the school retracts and corrects the March 1 email, as well as conduct the application process for the college preparatory program “in a nondiscriminatory and legal manner.”
Fairfax County Public Schools, the district that the middle school is in, provided a statement to ABC13 stating that the program being publicized as exclusionary of other races is inaccurate.
In the 2022-23 school year, the program reported 352 Asian students (17.4%) and 176 white students (8.7%) out of a total of 2,018 students enrolled in the program, the statement said.
“We are disappointed that no one from the Office of the Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia contacted Fairfax County Public Schools to check on the authenticity of these reports,” the statement said. “Instead, false and damaging public accusations against Cooper Middle School have been made.”
“Publishing false narratives like this undermine public school efforts to boost U.S. educational achievement.”
Miyares’ spokeswoman Victoria LaCivita also told The Epoch Times that the school’s email speaks for itself, which is why the attorney general demands a correction to it.
“If FCPS truly wants to boost educational achievement and not undermine it, it should stop sending emails like the one it did,” LaCivita said. “Discrimination has no place in public education, and Attorney General Miyares will continue to demand that it stops.”
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It seems like they were just trying to encourage two groups that don’t typically do well on standardized tests, to take the class. That addresses an existing disparity. There’s no other way to do that, except to add language to encourage them to participate.
“Colorblind” language could end up perpetuating the inequities.