Too often, we find that our families and kids are demonized, marginalized and erased. For that reason, we make these multimedia assets available to you free of charge to bring to life our families, our voices, our lived experience. Thank you for the work you do as storytellers writing the first draft on history.

Our Brave Families

On Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, parents from the #SaveMerit coalition held a rally at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, before Superintendent Michelle Reid spoke to parents about the withholding of National Merit awards from students. These photos are available for free use. Please credit for all photos: Andrew Thomas at Andrew @

Photos by Coalition for TJ / Andrew Thomas Andrew

The War on Merit

In April 2022, incoming Fairfax County Public Schools Supt. Michelle Reid spoke about her desire for “equal outcomes” for all students. In fall 2022, it was learned that Ann Bonitatibus, principal at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, and Brandon Kosatka, director of student services, withheld from TJ students news that they had been awarded National Merit Commended Students. Is that a fair way to achieve “equal outcomes” for all students?
On Thursday, April 21, 2022, Principal Ann Bonitatibus stood before parents at a meeting of the school’s Parent Teacher Student Association, or PTSA, and denied her role in the TJ admissions changes. “To be clear,” Bonitatibus said, sharply, “it is the FCPS school board who makes the decision about TJ admissions and FCPS leadership. I do not make – nor have I had any role – in the decision making for TJ admissions.” Brian Davison, a TJ father who asked Bonitatibus about her advocacy for the new race-based admissions policy, shook his head in disbelief at the principal’s response. “The judge called you a racist,” he said, as members of a new rubber-stamping PTSA clapped for the principal.

Sept. 15, 2020, Superintendent Scott Brabrand said the admissions at TJHSST had to be changed so the racial demographic of the school could match the racial demographic of the county. Bonitatibus agreed.

Sept. 22, 2020, the Fairfax County Supt. Scott Brabrand revealed his bias and prejudice against Asian American families.
The full video is at this link:

In 2018, Virginia State Sen. Scott Surrovell introduced legislation to change the admissions policy to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. He invited a retired teacher from Rachel Carson Middle School to be a witness in support of his changes. She proceeded to speak about the “ravenous” parents at Rachel Carson Middle School, and she griped about the “many kids who came here from India” with parents who “come here however they come here.” “Certain communities make sure that their kids, starting early on, get into every competition you can get in. They are ravenous about there’s a math test my kid can take; he’s going to take it. The parents started a debate team at Rachel Carson. They hold auditions for it. They run the debate team because they want their kids to win, and they want something to put on their little resume. I taught many kids who came here from India specifically to attend Carson and TJ. Specifically. The parents come here however they come here, put the kids in Carson, pipeline to TJ.”