Loudoun schools agree to racial reforms after state probe

LEESBURG, Va. (AP) — Loudoun County Public Schools have agreed to a series of reforms following an investigation by the Virginia Attorney General’s Office into racial discrimination in the admissions policies at an elite magnet school.

The agreement announced Thursday by Attorney General Mark Herring goes beyond the admissions policies at the new Academies of Loudoun, a science and technology high school established in 2018 with a selective admissions process. African American students have been significantly underrepresented in the school’s student body.

It also covers discrimination policies across the school system, and places it under third-party monitoring.

In some instances, the agreement subjects to schools system to ongoing review of changes that have already been initiated, including revisions to a dress code to identify Confederate and Nazi symbols as racially hostile.

The investigation is the first ever by the attorney general’s office into allegations of systemic racial discrimination within a state school system. It was launched after the Loudoun County branch of the NAACP filed a complaint.

Michelle Thomas, president of the NAACP’s Loudoun branch, called the agreement a significant milestone that has real teeth and enforcement provisions.

“It will force Loudoun County to get out from the shadows of discrimination,” she said in an interview.

In a statement on its website, LCPS said it did not agree with a number of the attorney general’s findings, but that it considers the resulting agreement a success that will reinforce reforms that were already underway.

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