FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (CNN) – The Attorney General for the State of Virginia is investigating a National Merit Awards controversy in Fairfax County, where several high schools have delayed notifying students of their National Merit Awards, but called it human error.

    Parents and other critics have said the failure was intentional, and now the Fairfax County Schools Superintendent disagrees.

    The schools’ decision was criticized by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, who criticized dozens of high schools for failing to inform students that their PSAT scores had earned them praise in the annual scholarship competition. national studies.

    “It impacts their ability to apply to college for scholarships, and this idea of ​​a golden ticket, as it’s called, was denied to them,” Youngkin said.

    Shawna Yashar is the mother of a student who received the National Merit Award.

    “We didn’t get it until November 21, past the early admission and acceptance deadline,” she said. “So we don’t know. I mean, we’re still waiting for college news. We had a few rejections.

    The governor argued that the commendations were intentionally withheld to avoid hurting the feelings of students who had not been recognized.

    “They are focused on equal outcomes for all students at all costs,” he said.

    Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid said calling the National Merit Award a golden ticket would not be accurate.

    “What I mean when I talk about equality of outcome is the opportunity for each student to realize their unique potential,” she said.

    In response to the awards being held up as intentional, Reid said schools recognize the contributions of all of their students.

    “We celebrate each of our students’ unique contributions and accomplishments, and there is absolutely no division-wide effort to withhold recognition or fail to honor hard work and accomplishments.”

    The Virginia Attorney General is currently investigating high schools in Fairfax County after eight of them were slow to tell students they were commended, including Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, High School the highest ranked in the country.

    “We have launched an external third-party review into the situation,” Reid said.

    In a letter to the community, Reid said the delay was likely due to “human error”.

    “We are committed to reaching out to all early action colleges and universities, early decision schools that otherwise our commended scholars might not have had this information to notify,” she said. .

    Lost in this war of words, the students who received the commendation are in fact excluded from the competition for the National Merit Scholarships.

    Riti Liu, a student, said she may have even thrown hers away.

    “I didn’t really think about it,” she said. “I didn’t put it anywhere in my, like, honor section for college applications.”

    Youngkin proposed legislation at the general assembly to require schools to notify recommended students immediately.

    Rei’s office is already drafting division-wide guidelines to achieve this.

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