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Herring announces settlement with Loudoun County Public Schools in discrimination case

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Allegations that Loudoun County Public Schools denied students an equal opportunity to participate in their Academies of Loudoun and elementary gifted and talented programs based on race have led to a settlement.

Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced that he has secured an enforceable slate of commitments from Loudoun County Public Schools to reform policies, invest in minority community outreach, and submit to third party monitoring, among other commitments, in order to promote equitable educational access for minority students following the first investigation ever conducted by the Office of Attorney General into allegations of systemic racial discrimination in a Virginia public school system.

This agreement between Herring’s Office of Civil Rights and Loudoun County Public Schools will be in effect through June 30, 2024.

“Discrimination has no place in Virginia, but especially not within our school systems. Our children deserve equal access to a quality education no matter what they look like or where they live,” Herring said. “I hope other school systems throughout the Commonwealth will use this agreement as a lens through which to take a look at their own policies and procedures to make sure they are affording each child an equal opportunity. I want to thank my Office of Civil Rights for their hard work and dedication to this investigation and I would also like to thank the Loudoun NAACP for stepping forward when they perceived an issue.”

Under the slate of enforceable commitments, Loudoun County Public Schools will:

  • Provide the Office of Civil Rights with its analysis and proposed revisions to its outreach plan for the Academies of Loudoun and provide the Office of Civil Rights with additional information at its request.
  • Provide the Office of Civil Rights with its analysis and proposed revisions to its recruitment plan for the Academies of Loudoun and provide the Office of Civil Rights with additional information at its request.
  • Provide the Office of Civil Rights with its analysis and proposed revisions to its admissions criteria for the Academies of Loudoun and provide the Office of Civil Rights with additional information at its request.
  • Seek input on any proposed revisions regarding the Academies of Loudoun from the Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee (MSAAC) and Equity Committee through a process that will allow the public, including the Charging Party, NAACP Loudoun Branch, to provide input to those committees on any proposed changes or revisions.
  • Seek input on any proposed revisions regarding the Futura and SPECTRUM gifted programs from the Minority Student Achievement Advisory Committee (MSAAC) and Equity Committee through a process that will allow the public, including the Charging Party, NAACP Loudoun Branch, to provide input to those committees on any proposed changes or revisions.
  • Consider any feedback on any proposed revisions regarding the Academies of Loudoun from the MSAAC, including the charging party, NAACP Loudoun Branch.
  • Provide the Office of Civil Rights with its analysis and proposed revisions to its admissions criteria for the Futura and SPECTRUM gifted programs and provide OCR with additional information at its request.
  • During the course of the investigation, LCPS approved a model for addressing equity in student discipline, described in the Student Rights and Responsibilities (SRR) Handbook.
  • LCPS is in the process of revising its nondiscrimination policies and practices, which it will submit to OCR for review prior to School Board approval.
  • LCPS has committed to annually review its protocol for responding to racial slurs and hate speech in schools.
  • LCPS must retain third-party consultants to assist in monitoring, assessing and making recommendation regarding its obligations in this Agreement; LCPS must provide the names of proposed consultants to the Office of Civil Rights for input and approval.

In 2019, the NAACP Loudoun Branch filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights alleging racist and discriminatory practices surrounding the admissions process for the Academies of Loudoun and the elementary gifted and talented programs.

The OCR initiated a formal investigation the following October, which included interviews and extensive review of documentation and information provided by the NAACP Loudoun Branch, LCPS, and LCPS students, families, and employees.

Following a thorough investigation, the OCR found reason to believe that LCPS’s policies and practices did, in fact, result in a disparate impact that harmed Black/African-American and Latinx/Hispanic students.

The OCR then sent a Final Determination to both parties that included reforms and commitments the Office believed must be undertaken in order to address the “discriminatory disparate impact identified and help ensure equal opportunity for each student.”


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