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FCPS says independent investigation found students not intentionally harmed in Merit Award mistake

Some parents said the school's failure to notify students of their National Merit Awards hurt their kids' college applications and scholarship chances.

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Wednesday night parents got their first look at a summary of the independent investigation of Fairfax County Public Schools and its failure to notify some students of their National Merit Awards.

The summary of the investigation says educators did nothing to intentionally harm students or their college applications.

"To me this is just a cover-up," one parent said during a meeting with Superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid. 

Wednesday night's frustration for some parents started last fall, when Fairfax County Public Schools failed to notify some students of their National Merit Awards.

Some parents said it hurt their kids' college applications and scholarship chances.

Protests and politics followed with Virginia's Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin calling for an investigation and the attorney general investigating whether FCPS discriminated against Asian students.

Superintendent Reid told parents an independent investigation found none of that was true, but did fault the school for not having a better system for notifying students of their awards.

Some parents still have questions and want the district to release the entire independent report and not just the summary which the district says it helped prepare.

"I believe that trust is really going to be borne out by our actions rather than just the report or our words," Dr. Reid told WUSA9.

Dr. Reid says when the mistake was found staff members called colleges to make sure they knew which students had won the National Merit Awards and still got threatening calls and emails themselves, the summary of the report said.

FCPS parent Abbas Valliani said after the meeting, "I believe in educators...I work with so many of them, they're not going to do anything that's going to be harmful to the kids." 

The problem, he said, is how the school is communicating with parents.

"I think the major issue that has happened is really an erosion of trust between parents and the administrators," he said.

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