STAFFORD, Va. — Gov. Glenn Youngkin says he expects his policies on transgender students to move forward despite an additional 30-day delay announced Thursday by the Virginia Education Department.
The adoption of the guidance could have been implemented as early as Thursday, Oct. 27, but now the measures will be pushed back to allow the education department to review the comments that argue that the policies contradict existing state law.
"We're going to implement the policies as soon as that 30-day period is up. I expect every school jurisdiction to follow the policies as is the law," said Youngkin following a rally in Stafford, Va. for the congressional candidate for the seventh district Yesli Vega.
Under Youngkin's "model policies" all school systems in the commonwealth must adopt guidelines that limit transgender students to activities and facilities based on their sex assigned at birth.
A student would also require parental or guardian consent if they decide to change their name, gender, or use of pronouns inside a Virginia school. If the students decide to change their name and gender in school records, the family would have to provide the proper legal paperwork.
The Republican governor insisted following the Friday rally, that the measures are not controversial, but simply an attempt to reinsert parents in the most important decisions for kids.
The policies were announced by the Youngkin administration in September and prompted mass school walkouts across the commonwealth.
Advocate groups like the Virginia NAACP have weighed in on the policy changes calling them discriminatory and a violation of state and federal laws.
“The 2022 Model Policies violate the First Amendment rights of children in Virginia schools,” said Robert Barnette, Jr., the president of the Virginia NAACP.
Barnette argues that the guidelines are set to divide Virginia and discriminate against trans students.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has also pushed back, voting formally to oppose the policy. In a letter to the state education department, the board members said the changes would be "bad for business," and that they could cause companies to choose not to move to Virginia as a result.
Parents at the Vega rally in Stafford say the message of parental rights is still a message that resonates with them as voters.
"I do not trust the school system at all," said Elizabeth Colter to WUSA9 following a conversation with Supervisor Yesli Vega and Gov. Youngkin. She says that she was forced to take her son with special needs out of school because she did not agree with the care and instruction being provided.
"With anything, including my child's health and welfare. He is my child, I am responsible for him. I take that very seriously," she added.
Megan Sanders shared a similar sentiment, "I don't co-parent with the government. I feel like I have my children's best interest at heart. I know what is best for their education. The medical choices I make for them."
The additional 30-day delay allows for Virginia Education Department to respond and provide recommendations based on the feedback received. The policies could be implemented by late November.
They include the requirement that teachers and staff refer to students by the name on their official record...unless a parent says otherwise.