In protest of new transgender rule proposals by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Virginia students staged a walkout on Tuesday demanding their reversal, The Associated Press reported.
The agenda was made public earlier this month in the state Education Department's 2022 model policies, which included suggestions to restrict gendered bathroom use and mandate parental disclosure requirements on children's pronouns.
After several district supervisors aired criticisms of the policy proposals, more than 100 Virginia schools encompassing thousands of students revealed last week that they would conduct voluntary walkouts in protest.
"We decided to hold these walkouts as kind of a way to … disrupt schools and essentially have students be aware of what's going on," Natasha Sanghvi, a Virginian high school senior who helped organize the protests, told AP.
Meanwhile, supporters of Youngkin argued in a public online forum that the new policies help restore parents' right to make decisions for children and prevent potential influence by activist teachers on their development.
"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," wrote Virginia resident Everett Gillus Jr.
Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter told The Hill that Virginia schools will still be able to accommodate requests made by children — but only if the parents are given a say in the matter.
"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," Porter stated.
"While students exercise their free speech today, we'd note that these policies state that students should be treated with compassion and schools should be free from bullying and harassment," she added.
The rule changes would be a stark contrast to those put forward by former Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam's cabinet just several years ago, which permitted transgender students to attend any bathroom with which they self-identified.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.