Virginia AG expands probe after more than a dozen schools withheld merit awards during ‘equity’ push

Virginia’s attorney general reportedly expanded the investigation into the withholding of merit awards from students now that it’s revealed more than a dozen high schools did so in the name of equity. 

Fox News Digital spoke with Asra Nomani, a mother in Fairfax County, Va., and a journalist who broke the story in the City Journal on Dec. 21 about the scandal. She said she didn’t learn that her son, who graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in 2021, was a National Merit Commended Student until two years after he was supposed to receive the award in the fall of 2020. 

Like other parents, she blasted the move for jeopardizing her son’s college scholarship opportunities. 

“As an immigrant single mother and minority sole head of household, I’m working three jobs to pay out-of-state tuition for him with federal Pell Grant assistance for lower-income families and zero merit money. How is that the social justice that equity warriors claim they are striving to achieve?” Nomani said in a statement to Fox News Digital on Tuesday. 


“We’re now finding out that many other schools have withheld this critical accolade from parents and students,” she said. “Withholding the National Merit awards from children is immoral, unethical and downright cruel, if not illegal. It’s emblematic of a war on merit that has become a war on kids.”

Despite school systems blaming the delay in notifying students as an administrative overnight, Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said the so-called “golden ticket” was withheld from students “for the purpose of not wanting to make people feel bad who didn’t achieve it.” 

“All of a sudden, we see it spreading around to the rest of Fairfax County,” Youngkin told WJLA on-camera. “They have a maniacal focus on equal outcomes for all students at all costs… The reality is we have a superintendent in Fairfax schools who has explicitly stated that her top objective is equal outcomes for all students regardless of the price.” 

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares is expanding his investigation after it’s been revealed at least 14 schools across northern Virginia alone have been withholding national merit recognition information from students. The probe is looking to see if school systems violated the Virginia Human Rights Act. 

Miyares told Fox News that Fairfax County paid a so-called equity consultant $450,000 for less than nine months of work. 

Another four high school came forward in Fairfax County came forward Friday, bringing the total number of schools with withhold merit notifications to seven there – or 25% of the schools in Fairfax County. The controversy has expanded to Loudon County and Prince Williams County. 

Miyares told ABC News that preliminary investigation shows more than 1,000 students were not notified in a timely manner to meet important scholarship and admission deadlines. 

Virginia state Senate candidate, Tina Ramirez, told Fox News Digital she called for the probe to be expanded last week and is now commending Youngkin and Miyares for doing so. 

“By focusing on attempting to dictate outcomes instead of focusing on establishing equal opportunity, woke school officials are limiting the futures of all of students— the exact opposite of what a school is supposed to do,” Ramirez, a mother and founder of an international human rights organization, said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “As a single mother to a Black daughter who loves and excels in math and science, I find it frankly offensive that students like my daughter are being denied the opportunity to compete and succeed on their own merit.” 

“Fundamentally, this is why I am running for Senate: everywhere we look, far left radicals and bureaucrats are infringing upon our liberty and impeding our ability to succeed,” she added. “It’s time they got out of our way and allowed us— and our children— the opportunity to flourish.”

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