8th Grade Students Frazzled Amidst TJ Admissions Lawsuit


On February 25, 2022, a complaint was brought to the district court by the Parent and Alumni Advocacy Group Coalition for TJ regarding the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology’s new admissions process. This case has been in progress for the past weeks. However, eighth graders who applied to TJ have anxiously been awaiting information about the admissions process.

Thomas Jefferson Highschool implemented a new admissions process last year because there were concerns that the school wasn’t racially diverse enough. (For more information about the admissions process, read this article.) The class of 2023 was around 70% Asian, while Black students made up less than 1% and Hispanic students made up only 3.3%. After the process went into effect, the population of Black students increased to 7%, and the Hispanic population increased to 11%. However, the Asian population decreased to 54%. This caused an uproar among parents and students. They were claiming that the new process was racially discriminatory and was intended for placing an informal quota on the number of Asian students at TJ. Parents formed the Parent and Alumni Advocacy Group Coalition for TJ and brought the complaint to the district court, and this court case is still open and ongoing. FCPS asked the judge if they could continue the current TJ admissions process for this year, but the request was denied by the U.S. District Judge, Claude Hilton. FCPS appealed the decision and decided to go to the next level of court, the fourth circuit. The 4th circuit granted FCPS a stay on the current round of admissions.

However, this could possibly go to the Supreme Court, so presently, we are unsure where 8th graders who applied stand in the application process. 8th graders who applied to TJ have mixed feelings about the lawsuit and the testing process. Diana Prudius says, “I think it is very stressful for the students applying this year because they don’t know what is going to happen.” Many students agreed that this situation was very confusing for students who applied to TJ. Students also had thoughts on the format of the admissions process itself. Kyle Aylward says, “I like the essay questions better, but I think a mix of multiple-choice questions and essay questions would be an even better solution to the problem. However, 8th grader Retal Mohammad has some different thoughts. “I think this 2023 version is way easier than the other one, but I feel like having a harder and more exclusive test will prepare the students better. I feel like the test this year was really easy, and it isn’t preparing students for what actually goes on at TJ.” Additionally, Kayhan Kohistani added, “Race just shouldn’t be considered throughout the admissions process in general.”

As of now, students are supposed to receive their admissions results on April 29th, however that date is subject to change due to the lawsuit. Good luck to all our applicants, and be prepared for more news in the upcoming weeks.