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School board member says ‘anti-Asian feel’ to new admission policy of country’s top high school

  • Fairfax County school board member Abrar Omeish is under fire after a text message to another board member about the district’s admissions policy was published by an outside organization.

  • Based on the texts, Omeish seems to be admitting that the district’s race-based admissions is “anti Asian.”

  • Emails exchanged between the school board members and a district official will also be used in a court case against the Fairfax County School Board.

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Abrar Omeish, a Fairfax County school board member, wrote in a text message to another board member that the district’s admissions policy is discriminatory towards Asians.

“I mean there has been an anti asian feel underlying some of this, hate to say it lol,” Omeish texted school board member Stella Pekarsky, according to Parents Defending Education.

“… I always told people that talking about TJ is a stupid waste of tome [sic],” Perkarsky replied.

“Of course it is… They’re discriminated against in this process too,” Omeish wrote back.

Pekarsky’s use of the abbreviation “TJ” presumably refers to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, ranked the country’s No. 1 high school by U.S. News and World Report, which updated its admission policy in 2020 in an attempt to diversify its student body.

The new policy caused a drop – about 19% in the last year – in Asian American enrollment, while the school increased the enrollment of other racial minorities, according to the National Review. Twenty percent of people in Fairfax County, Virginia, are of Asian descent, according to the U.S. Census.

In addition to the leaked text messages, an email written by Thomas Jefferson’s Admissions Director Jeremy Shughart asking Fairfax school district official Lidi Hruda to advise on the effectiveness of a weighting system aimed to “level the playing field” revealed Shughart does not think that white and Asian students are historically underrepresented.

In a separate thread, Pekarsky also emailed Omeish that Fairfax Superintendent Scott Brabrand “screwed up TJ and the Asians hate us.” 

Omeish responded that he was “just dumb and too white” to solve the problems. Omeish went on to call Braband’s approach “so racist.”

These emails and text threads were made public when the parent-run Coalition for TJ against the Fairfax County School Board filed a lawsuit accusing the school of discrimination against Asian American students. The case is expected to reach federal court next Tuesday

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