A Federal District Court judge has denied a bid to enjoin the Loudoun County School Board from implementing new admissions selection procedures for the Academy of Science and the Academy Engineering and Technology.
A hearing on the school division’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit is scheduled for November.
In August, the School Board approved admission process changes to reduce the number of applicant assessment tests from four to two, to create a racially and ethnically diverse selection committee, and to take steps to achieve a better geographical balance in the student selections.
That plan is under legal challenge by a group of parents who allege the changes violate their constitutional rights because they move away from an objective, merit-based selection process, were developed using faulty data, and do not promote equal opportunity. The lawsuit was filed in Loudoun Circuit Court but moved to federal court at the request of school division attorney Julia Judkins because it claims a violation of the Equal Protection clause.
Following arguments during a hearing conducted over Zoom, Judge Anthony Trenga ruled that the plaintiffs did not present enough evidence to show that they were likely to prevail in the case or that they would suffer irreparable harm without a court-ordered delay through a preliminary injunction.
Although the admission changes grew from the school division’s efforts to address equity concerns and the plaintiffs alleged that Asian students would be disproportionally affected, Trenga noted that there is no reference to racial or ethnic classifications in the policies. Instead, the stated purpose of the amendments is to promote socioeconomic and geographic diversity in the academies.
Attorneys are scheduled to be back online with the judge Nov. 10 to argue the school division’s motion to dismiss the case.