Fairfax County School Board Member Admits ‘Anti-Asian Feel’ to New High School Admission Process

Thomas Jefferson High School, Alexandria, Va., July 1, 2020 (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

A Fairfax County school board member admitted in a text message to a fellow board member that the district’s new equity-focused admissions policy for an advanced high school in Virginia has undertones of anti-Asian discrimination.

School board member Abrar Omeish texted board member Stella Pekarsky: “I mean there has been an anti asian feel underlying some of this, hate to say it lol,” according to correspondence obtained by non-profit Parents Defending Education. Pekarsky responded: “…I always told people that talking about TJ is a stupid waste of tome [sic].” Omeish replied: “Of course it is…They’re discriminated against in this process too.”

Rolling back its historically merit-based, race-blind criteria, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology made its admission policy in 2020 more subjective and race-based to foster a more diverse student body. The result of the policy has been a steep reduction in Asian-American students, who have largely replaced by other racial minorities. Last summer, school district officials announced that Asian-American students would make up 54 percent of the incoming freshman class in fall 2021, down from 73

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