Fairfax County’s Public Schools Have Codified a Secret, Discriminatory Hierarchy

Stephanie Lundquist-Arora | May 17, 2024

(Washington Examiner) — The terms “marginalized group” and “protected class” are being used to hold some students’ interests, access to resources, and safety above others in Fairfax County’s public schools.

Earlier this week, I requested information from Nardos King, the district’s chief equity officer, about the definitions and operationalization details for the broad terms. Her response left me with more questions.

On Wednesday, she sent me an email that read, “While we may not have an official definition for ‘marginalized group,’ it generally refers to people who face systemic disadvantages and discrimination. This can include women, underrepresented ethnic and racial groups, individuals based on gender identity and sexual orientation, people of various ages, individuals with physical disabilities, and non-native language speakers.”

The district’s Educational Equity Policy, passed by the school board in June 2023, uses the term “marginalization.” While King’s response specified whom the policy may include, it did not say which groups of students it does include. Given that this dichotomy of marginalized and nonmarginalized students is explicitly codified into local public policy, Fairfax County Public Schools should have a public document that specifies how it implements these terms into policy. Such a document would need to state explicitly which groups are marginalized — and which are not.

Of course, the reason such a document does not exist is because the school district deliberately overuses and abuses these terms for its political objectives. In 2021, for example, I emailed a school administrator to question why Black Lives Matter and transgender flags were being displayed in the engineering classroom of a middle school when both flags are arguably political. She responded, “FCPS does allow stickers/signs/posters, etc. that express support for traditionally marginalized groups which does include Black Lives Matter and Pride Flags.”

Assuming that black people constitute one of the marginalized groups according to the district’s unwritten definition, it is unclear how that would include Black Lives Matter, a socio-political movement, in part composed of many white people, that does not represent the viewpoint of all black people. Why is that flag allowed in a classroom when presumably Blue Lives Matter flags are not? This is a clear case of viewpoint discrimination obscurely codified in district policy under the sanctimonious banner of equity.

For clarification, I asked the district’s chief equity officer to explicitly identify which groups belong in the “marginalized” and “non-marginalized” categories. She did not respond before the publication of this article.