Students from nearly 100 Virginia schools staged walkouts Tuesday in protest of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s changes to the policies applying to transgender students.
Mr. Youngkin’s model transgender policy changes require students to use the bathroom or locker room of the sex they were born as, according to the state’s Department of Education updated policy packet.
The changes also require students to provide written permission from their parents if they want to go by a different name or pronoun, or to allow the student to change their name on school forms.
It’s a 180-degree turn from the original policy passed by former Gov. Ralph Northam in 2020. Those rules allowed transgender students to use school facilities in accordance with their gender identity and required teachers to accept a transgender student’s name and pronouns without parental consent, according to The Hill.
A large chunk of the schools participating are in the D.C. suburbs, including multiple high schools and middle schools in Arlington County and every high school in the Fairfax County school system.
Students at Culpeper High School organized their walkout earlier this morning, according to WTTG, the local Fox affiliate in D.C.
You can view the full list and what time students are walking out at their given school here.
Pride Liberation Project, an LGBT student organization based in the commonwealth, said that the policy changes are “attacking LGBTQIA+ students across Virginia.”
The updated policies do note that “schools should attempt to accommodate… any student with a persistent and sincere belief that his or her gender differs from his or her sex.”
That includes making single-use bathrooms and facilities available to transgender students.
The governor’s office said it’s important for parents to be involved in the process.
“The guidelines make it clear that when parents are part of the process, schools will accommodate the requests of children and their families,” Macaulay Porter, Mr. Youngkin’s spokeswoman, said in a statement provided to the Washington Times.
The statement said parents “should be a part of their children’s lives, and it’s apparent through the public protests and on-camera interviews that those objecting to the guidance already have their parents as part of that conversation.”
Ms. Porter also reiterated that the policies “state that students should be treated with compassion and schools should be free from bullying and harassment.”
Parents in multiple counties throughout the state had protested the changes last summer.
School boards in Augusta, Russell and Warren counties voted not to adopt the model policy put forth by Mr. Northam’s administration.