A parent and former PTA president at Thomas Jefferson High School in Virginia, who protested changes to its admissions policy, then faced charges of defamation and slander after a proponent of those changes claimed, “Grooming Behavior”, achieved a major legal victory this week.
Harry Jackson observed Friday that a Fairfax County judge dismissed four charges of defamation and slander along with the bias leveled against him. RightDefense.org Attorney Marina Medwin represented Jackson in Fairfax District Court.
“I would like to emphasize this point—what makes this case unique is that criminal charges were made to suppress freedom of expression. Criminal charges! Not a civil trial but a criminal charge. In this day and age I believe —that it’s the only case of it kind,” said Medwin, who was upheld on the case only a week ago. “It should never have happened. But a magistrate let it happen — four times. And then a Soros-funded prosecutor allowed an innocent man to be tried for a criminal trial for a period of seven months.”
Steve Descano, a Democrat elected in 2019 known for being funded in large part by Democrat billionaire George Soros, is the prosecutor Medwin was referring to.
George Torico, a member of the advocacy organization for the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Alumni Action Group, promoted the first admissions that eliminated standardized testing requirements and written teacher recommendations.
Jackson was charged after Jackson tweeted about Toriko’s alleged “grooming behavior” in November 2020.
The school’s admissions policies, which were revised in December, made admissions less merit-based and were instead viewed by some as “race-based”. The amendment, which resulted in a historically diverse class of students being offered admission for the fall of 2021, was also later found by a federal judge to discriminate against Asian-Americans.
Thomas Jefferson High School is a magnet school available to students in Northern Virginia and has long been ranked as one of the top public high schools in the country.
While Descano aimed to drop the prosecution on Thursday, Medwin made it a point to dismiss the charges instead.
“I believe this dismissal, along with the publicity of the matter, will hopefully restore public confidence in the First Amendment. Still, my work is not done. My next project is to get this law off the books.” . Next stop is Richmond,” she said.
For Jackson, the outspoken black father, who has been an Olympic competitor and Navy intelligence officer, was also a plaintiff in the case. Coalition for TJ v. Fairfax County School Board. They told newsweek He now sees an end to the “oppression” he has experienced for months.
“It has been a stressful time for me and my family during these months of harassment,” Jackson said. “I am relieved that I have been upheld and this has transformed me by strengthening my resolve in my advocacy in education.”
newsweek The Fairfax County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office contacted Descano for comment.
Also on Friday, a coalition of community members, parents and school alumni filed an emergency request in the Supreme Court to vacate the Fourth Circuit’s stay in a coalition lawsuit challenging the school’s admissions process. . Chief Justice John Roberts has been appointed to oversee the Fourth Circuit.
It was in late February that US District Judge Claude Hilton agreed with the coalition represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation and ordered the policy to be halted. Last week, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit stayed the district court’s decision, which allows Thomas Jefferson’s admissions process to proceed.