- Associated Press - Monday, November 23, 2020

LEESBURG, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Attorney General’s Office has found that an elite Loudoun County public high school’s admissions policies discriminate against Black and Hispanic students.

The Loudoun County branch of the NAACP filed a complaint last year about the admissions policies at the new Academies of Loudoun, a science and technology high school established in 2018 with a selective admissions process.

The complaint alleged that the admissions process relied too much on a standardized test and that the school system failed to identify gifted Black and Hispanic students in its elementary and middle schools.

The AG office’s report found that the school system has tried to address the problem after the Academies’ initial class in 2018 had only one Black student. It is recommending the school system meet with the NAACP to resolve ongoing issues amicably.

The school system said Friday after the AG’s report was made public that it is reviewing the 61-page report and that it is continuing to implement a plan to combat racism that the school board had previously adopted.

The debate over admissions at the Loudoun County school mirrors one ongoing at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and technology in Fairfax County. The school, often ranked as the best in the nation, is changing its admissions policies at the prodding of the state to increase diversity. The changes prompted a lawsuit from parents who support the existing process and say it rewards students who most merit admission.

Virginia Education Secretary Atif Qarni has been working to overhaul the admissions process at TJ and other selective Governor’s Schools in Virginia to increase opportunities for Black and Hispanic students.

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