NORFOLK, Va. — The public comment period on the Youngkin administration's proposed changes to the policies for transgender student ends next week. So far, the website has gotten more than 62,400 comments since it launched at the end of September.
Under the new policies, parents would have to request that schools refer to their children as different names or pronouns than their biological sex. The policies would roll back initiatives put in place during former Gov. Ralph Northam's administration. Students would also have to use bathroom facilities matching their biological sex.
Last month, students held at schools around the state, including some in Hampton Roads.
During a Board of Education meeting Thursday, dozens of people spoke in favor and against the proposal.
"This policy asks professionals and educators to deny an already vulnerable group their basic dignity. We are talking about basic dignity," one speaker said.
"My rights as a parent don't stop where your feelings begin," another parent said.
In an interview with WTOP Radio in Washington, Gov. Youngkin said he expects schools to follow the policy once it's finalized. "It's the law," he said.
"The 2022 model policy delivers on the governor’s commitment to preserving parental rights and upholding the dignity and respect of all public school students. Key decisions rest, first and foremost, with a child’s parents," a spokesperson for Gov. Youngkin said in a statement to News 3.
A report from Virginia Mercury in September said only 10 percent of school boards adopted the policies put forward by the Northam administration.
Once the public comment period ends on Wednesday, Oct. 26, the Dept. of Education can review the comments before finalizing the guidelines.