RICHMOND, Va. – New guidelines for the treatment of transgender students in Virginia schools have people across the Commonwealth split.
On Tuesday, Governor Glenn Youngkin told 10 News he supports the revisions that provide more input from parents.
“If you’re against the guidelines it means you’re against having parents involved in students’ lives. I don’t think that’s where Virginia is,” said Youngkin.
In an effort to maintain campaign promises, Youngkin said the current policy leaves no room for parent input, which goes against what Virginia voters say they want.
Referenced more than 30 times, the Governor said his policy does a lot to address bullying which he says will not be tolerated – no matter your opinion on the policy.
On Tuesday, students across the state expressed their opinion as they walked out of class to protest.
“I respect the fact that students are exercising their first amendment rights,” said Youngkin.
Some commenters call this policy change “cruel and dangerous,” “hateful,” and ask, “what does anyone gain from this?”
Others say, “adolescents are not at a stage in their lives to change,” one saying, “finally,” and calling this “common sense.”
State Senator Jennifer McClellan helped create the original policy in place.
“The policies were designed to make sure we were balancing the child’s privacy, their ability to trust their teacher, their ability to have a safe space in school, and the ability to communicate with parents. And the Governor’s policy puts that balance in jeopardy,” commented Sen. McClellan.
Proposed changes require a parent’s approval every step of the way before the school can recognize a student with a trans experiences’ gender, different names, or pronouns – and require legal documents before school record changes can be made.
The Governor encouraged every parent to read the new model policies from the Virginia Department of Education, which were posted online Friday.
“This can be an ‘and’ moment and not an ‘or’. I don’t want to make this an ‘or’ moment. It shouldn’t be. It should be a moment where we say, we in fact want to bring parents into all children’s lives and we want to make sure they feel safe,” stated Youngkin.
You can make your voice heard before public comment closes on Oct. 26 here.
Once the comment period ends, the state superintendent will have final approval.