Thomas Jefferson H.S., other Fairfax schools exclude blacks, Latinos, complaint alleges
A 17-page federal civil rights complaint was filed with the United States Department of Education on Monday by the Coalition of The Silence, an advocacy group led by former county School Board member Tina Hone, and the Fairfax chapter of the NAACP. The complaint alleges that a disproportionately low number of black and Latino students, as well as students with disabilities, are not getting admitted to Fairfax County’s prestigious Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, or TJ. According to The Washington Post, the complaint says students get shut out long before they apply in eighth grade because of Fairfax County Public Schools’ systematic failure to identify them for gifted-education programs that began in elementary school.
Spokesman John Torre said Fairfax school officials could not comment because they had not had a chance to review the complaint. Hone said she is not seeking specific remedies at this time, but instead wants to bring attention to the scope of the problem. She said, “The solution to the problem of the lack of diversity in TJ admissions is not necessarily a fix just to the TJ admissions process. There has to be a fix to the pipeline that feeds into the process.” Black and Latino students together account for nearly 4 percent of the 480 students admitted to next year’s freshman class at TJ. The two groups make up 32 percent of Fairfax County’s student population.