In the name of left-wing ideology, two administrators at Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Virginia withheld national academic awards from families of students in the name of racial equity.
The New York Post reported that the administrators’ actions mostly affected Asian students and it prevented these students from using the National Merit awards in their college applications and scholarship applications.
Principal Ann Bonitatibus and director of student services, Brandon Kosatka, withheld the awards the past five years and it affected at least 1,200 of the school’s students. Their decision prevented these students from applying for college scholarships.
The news broke as the school district implements a racial equity strategy citing “equal outcomes for every student, without exception.” The policy eliminated grades of zero, gives a 50% grade for showing up to school, and creates a category of “NTI” to denote assignments not turned in for grading.
It took the efforts of a parent to uncover this cover-up. Shawna Yasher found that her son was given a National Merit award in 2021 from the non-profit National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Her son was in the top 3 percent of students nationwide, and as the Post noted, “Principals usually celebrate National Merit scholars with special breakfasts, award ceremonies, YouTube videos, press releases and social media announcements.”
None such celebration happened for Yasher’s son.
Instead, Yasher’s son missed the early college acceptance deadlines due to the administrators’ slow notification and failure to gather signatures on-time.
Another parent activist, Debra Tisler, said it could be a civil rights violation because the administrators’ actions denied scholarship opportunities for racial minorities. She called it “cruel” to do what they did.
Kosatska admitted the decision was to avoid hurting the feelings of students who did not get the award. He later sent an email apologizing for the slow-walking process and said, “We are deeply sorry” for their handling of the notifications.
The principal, Bonitatibus, has allegedly not publicly recognized the high-achieving students from past years and neither has she delivered the certificates.