On Tuesday, a few small gatherings of students in Virginia led protests against a series of new policies unveiled by Governor Glenn Youngkin (R-Va.) cracking down on so-called “transgender” policies and reaffirming parents’ rights over their children’s education.
As reported by ABC News, a handful of schools saw some students walk out of classes, attempting to disrupt the daily schedule, in order to protest Youngkin’s policies. The protests were primarily concentrated in areas of Virginia that are known for leaning left, including areas such as Prince William County, Richmond, and Hampton Roads.
The policies in question forbid students from competing in sports that are designated for the opposite gender, prohibit the use of restrooms and locker rooms by students of the other gender, and also require parents’ permission for their students to use any name or pronouns that do not correspond to their actual gender.
In addition, schools are not allowed to encourage teachers to keep secrets from students’ parents regarding any so-called “change” in their gender or sexual identity, and school employees and students alike are also forbidden from referring to a student in any way that may violate their “constitutionall protected rights.”
Youngkin’s new proposals have received overwhelming support from parents across the state, as seen in the online public comment section set up for Virginians to weigh in on the policies. Virginia parent Everett Gillus Jr. wrote that, “for too long, there has been a constant abdication of parental rights and involvement in the public space with their children. This policy, in my opinion, enforces those rights of parents to have a proper say in their (children’s) upbringing, health and safety.”
Over 17,000 comments overall had been submitted by Tuesday, most of which will be reviewed by the Virginia Department of Education. The guidelines may be slightly edited based on public input before they are officially finalized by the state superintendent. Once the policies are implemented, the Youngkin Administration will require school districts to adopt policies that are “consistent with” the guidelines. Districts that refuse to comply may face legal action from the office of Attorney General Jason Miyares (R-Va.).