Black students at Thomas Jefferson High School reflect on changes since new admissions policy

Some students at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology are cheering the Supreme Court's decision to preserve the new admissions policy, aimed at increasing diversity. 

Anika Holder is a current student at Thomas Jefferson. She says there has been a lot of tension over the admissions process since the Fairfax County School Board revised it in 2020 after facing criticism that the student population was nearly three-quarters Asian American. 

Holder was admitted under the previous policy but told FOX 5 that some classmates assume she's not, and they question her spot on campus. 

"A lot of the racism that I experienced prior to the new admissions system, I felt like I didn't have a community to support me to challenge that racism," Holder said. "Through the new admissions policy and the diversity growth that we've experienced through it, I have been able to challenge a lot of that racism. Our Black student union went from 4-5 members my freshman year, to now we have roughly 50 members."


Supreme Court upholds admissions policy at elite Virginia high school

The Supreme Court on Tuesday left in place the admissions policy at an elite public high school in Virginia that some parents claimed discriminates against highly qualified Asian Americans.

Christiane Tekola is the president of the Black Student Union.

Holder and Tekola said last year was the first time the school celebrated Black History Month. Administrators worked with the Black Student Union to make it happen.

"The admissions policy does play a key role because, obviously, there was a time when there weren't even enough Black kids at TJ to report. It was that low," Tekola said. "I've had the opportunity to meet alum from the 90s. They came to our Black History Event."

Last week, the Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to the policy mounted by a group of parents who say it discriminates based on race. 


Top-ranked Virginia high school accused of depriving students of merit awards

Thomas Jefferson High School, one of the top high schools in Northern Virginia, deprived students of the national merit recognition they earned, according to a parent whose son was affected.

Admissions officers do not know the race of applicants, but the new policy has resulted in fewer offers of admission to Asian American students. 

Fairfax County Public Schools told FOX 5 that all students admitted to Thomas Jefferson are highly qualified and have earned their place.

The district said discrimination is not tolerated, it violates the student rights and responsibilities handbook.