WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has turned away a plea from parents to block a new admissions policy at a prestigious high school in northern Virginia that a lower court has found discriminates against Asian American students.
The high court did not explain its order Monday allowing the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology to continue using its admissions policy while the Fairfax County School Board appeals the lower court ruling.
Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas said they would have granted the request from the parents’ group, Coalition for TJ, to suspend the admissions policy.
In February, the group persuaded U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton that a new policy that has boosted Black and Hispanic representation amounted to impermissible “racial balancing” at the selective school near the nation’s capital. It is often ranked as one of the best public high schools in the country.
Asian American students constituted more than 70% of the student body. Under the new policy, used to admit the school’s current freshman class, Asian American representation decreased to 54%. Black students increased from 1% to 7% and Hispanic representation increased from 3% to 11%.
Hilton had ordered the new policy suspended, but the federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, said it could be used while the case continues to play out in the courts.
In a statement Monday evening, Coalition for TJ said: “We were hopeful that we would win this battle to vacate the stay in the highest court of the land, but our struggle for justice is not over. We are not at all dissuaded.”