A public high school in Virginia is under investigation by the state’s ...
Authored By Nick Baker
January 05, 2023
A public high school in Virginia is under investigation by the state’s attorney general’s office after students and parents alleged that administrators intentionally hid scholarships from their rightful recipients in the name of social justice.
Administrators of Alexandria’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, which is ranked as the number-one high school in the United States by US News & World Report, reportedly believed that notifying National Merit scholars of their awards in a timely manner could potentially hurt the feelings of students who didn’t qualify for the honor.
Instead of notifying the 240 qualifying students of their awards in early September, the high school withheld their notification letters for three months, at which point the vast majority of students had already submitted their college applications, and early application deadlines had passed.
The high school’s director of student services, Brandon Kosatka, reportedly told a concerned parent that they wanted to “recognize students for who they are as individuals, not focus on their achievements.”
Three years ago, in a similar move seeking to eliminate measurable accomplishments from the institution, principal Ann Bonitatibus removed standardized testing from the elite high school’s admissions process. She noted that her ultimate goal in doing so was to admit more black and Hispanic students.
Although leftists claim that moves like these will help “level the playing field” for minority students, that’s clearly not the case. Instead, the school’s administration is blatantly taking away opportunities from the students it is supposed to serve and support.
According to Asra Nomani, a local parent who has been involved with Young America’s Foundation in the past and is currently spearheading efforts to bring attention to this situation, the practice of hiding awards from students has been going on for years.
She recently discovered that her own son, who graduated from the school last year, earned the prestigious award. Had he known during the college admissions process, he could have received $2,500 from the National Merit Scholarship Program, and qualified for tens of thousands of dollars in additional awards from his university.
“We need to get to the bottom of what appears to be an egregious, deliberate attempt to disadvantage high-performing students at one of the best schools in the country,” Governor Glen Youngkin said in a press release announcing the investigation. “Parents and students deserve answers, and Attorney General Miyares will initiate a full investigation. I believe this failure may have caused material harm to those students and their parents,” he continued.
Young America’s Foundation is closely monitoring this case and plans to visit campus to highlight the voices of students, parents, and community members who have been impacted by this situation.