Judge: lawsuit over elite school’s admissions can move ahead

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — A judge is allowing a group of parents to move forward with a legal challenge to new admissions policies designed to create a more diverse student body at an elite public high school in Northern Virginia.

Fairfax County Public Schools had asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit over the admissions policies at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, which is ranked as the country’s best public high school by U.S. News and World Report.

The county school board recently changed admissions criteria at the school to scrap a stringent standardized admissions test in favor of a more holistic approach. School board members say the changes are needed to address a longstanding dearth of Black and Hispanic students at the school.

Opponents of the new policy argue TJ’s elite status will wither away if the school stops accepting the most academically talented applicants as measured by standardized tests.

The ruling issued Thursday by Fairfax County Circuit Judge John Tran tosses out some aspects of the lawsuit but allows the core allegations to go forward.

The lawsuit contends that state regulations require TJHSST to operate as a school for the gifted, as measured by scores on standardized tests.

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