MCLEAN, Va. - Thousands of public comments have been pouring in from Virginians regarding Governor Glenn Youngkin's draft "model policies" for schools.
If enacted, they'll affect transgender students in the Commonwealth.
Since midnight, concerned parents and students have posted over 5,500 comments on the hot-button issue that Youngkin promised he'd follow through on during his campaign. The policy says schools should attempt to accommodate students with distinctive needs, which would include those who identify as transgender. But it reaffirms "the fundamental right of parents."
The draft policy provides some support for students who identify as transgender so long as those students also have the support of their parents. That leaves out student who may not be out to their parents or have their support to identify as transgender.
Students from as many as 100 schools – who are opposed to Youngkin's policy – have organized a walkout Tuesday morning.
"For those of us who are lucky enough to have parent support, we will as long as our parents are willing to put in the effort, have that continued ability to continue as our gender identities," said Casey, a Virginia High School student. "And any student who doesn't have support from their parents be it they haven't come out, their parents are homophobic or transphobic, other multitude of reasons, they will not have equal support that they should have as being a student that attends Virginia public school."
"We want to spread the message that these policies right now, they're just proposed policies and that we can stop these if we all work together," said Ranger, another Virginia high school student. "We can get individual school boards to not implement them. And we can get the Virginia Department of Education of overturn them."
If enacted, Youngkin's model policies would change the status quo. The current model policy allows students to make decisions about pronouns and bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. Youngkin's would allow schools to require students to use bathrooms that correspond with their sex assigned at birth. It also allows school to separate athletic teams on the basis of sex.
Mary Vought, a visiting fellow, at the Independent Women's Forum said, "This is what spring boarded him to the governorship, and he understands that, and he sees that. The frustration that parents had with their parental authority and parental rights being taken away. And so, he's giving them back the authority to determine what's best for their children because as a parent, as a mom, I know what's best for my kids.
"The government, the state, teachers, guidance counselors, they don't," she added.
Public comment is open until October 26. You can leave a comment here.