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Tipsheet

AG Jason Miyares Investigating Entire Fairfax County Public School System

AP Photo/Steve Helber

Townhall has been covering the drama unfolding out of reports that schools in Fairfax County were withholding notification of merit base scholarships from students. Last week, Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) urged Attorney General Jason Miyares, also a Republican, to use his authority to investigate Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ), and Miyares quickly agreed. Days later, Miyares also announced that he would be expanding his investigation into all of the Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) system. 

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The announcement came on Monday, after it was revealed that more schools may have also followed TJ's move in withholding merit scholarships from students. This includes Westfield High School and Langley High School, who, as mentioned in local news reports, sent out emails to families last Friday and Saturday apologizing for not notifying students sooner that they qualified for merit scholarships last fall. 

As Miyares made clear in last week's announcement which came during a press conference, such a move from the schools may violate the the Virginia Human Rights Act. 

With added emphasis, his letter made clear that "If any of the protected bases listed in the Virginia Human Rights Act was a motivating factor for Fairfax County Public Schools' or any high school's decision to withhold any information from a student regarding any recognition from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, or any other merit recognition, then FCPS has violated the Virginia Human Rights Act."

A press release from Miyares' office also included a statement from the attorney general. "It’s concerning that multiple schools throughout Fairfax County withheld merit awards from students," he said. "My office will investigate the entire Fairfax County Public Schools system to find out if any students were discriminated against and if their rights were violated."

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Superintendent Michelle C. Reid, to whom Miyares' letter is addressed, emailed families in the district a response to the investigation that same day, seeking to reassure students and families that the district was committed "to supporting every student in achieving their unique and fullest potential." The statement also claimed that they "remain committed to being transparent with the key findings and sharing updates as appropriate to ensure every FCPS student is supported and recognized for the excellence they demonstrate."

In a previous statement, from January 4, which is when the investigation into TJ was announcement, Reid claimed that their "current understanding is that the delay at TJHSST this fall was a unique situation due to human error," before adding "but we will leave it to our investigative review to draw any final conclusions."

The FCPS operates as the largest school district in the commonwealth, and is one of the largest in the country. According to its "Equity Profile," the district serves over 178,000 students in 198 schools and centers. 

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This policy, which has led to a civil rights investigation from the attorney general, has emerged as part of the school district's commitment to "equity" and its policy of "equal outcomes for every student, without exception."

"Fairfax County" still continues to trend on Twitter, as it was doing on Tuesday night. 

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