In addition, a student LGBT advocacy group—the Pride Liberation Project—organized walkouts in about 100 schools across Virginia on Sept. 27, asking the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to revoke the new guidelines and their school districts to reject the VDOE model policies. The demonstrations mainly concentrated in Fairfax County, where the student group is based, and the remaining northern Virginia counties: Loudoun, Prince William, and Arlington.
Macaulay Porter, spokesperson for Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, said in a statement emailed to The Epoch Times: “The guidelines make it clear that when parents are part of the process, schools will accommodate the requests of children and their families. 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.
Pitting Students Against Their ParentsLoudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) is one of the 13 Virginia school districts that adopted the 2021 VDOE model policies on transgender students. The school board voted to adopt last year’s guidelines in August 2021, even though the majority of the online comments and in-person public comments speakers were against the policies.
Ian Prior, executive director of the Loudoun County-based Fight for Schools, a parental rights advocacy group, told The Epoch Times that the LCPS education system has pitted children against their parents.
“Governor Youngkin received nearly 1.7 million votes in November of 2021, largely on his promise to restore parental rights in Virginia. He has delivered on that promise,” Prior wrote in an emailed statement.
“The fact that a small minority of high school students are protesting the involvement of their parents in crucial decisions about their emotional, mental, and physical health proves the point that some of Virginia’s public school systems are far more focused on training activists than on providing a world-class education,” he added. “It is unfortunate, but predictable, that this has pitted children against the rights of their parents.”
In a Sept. 27 statement, LCPS said that about 1,375 students, or 1.7 percent of the total 82,000 student population, from 12 LCPS high schools participated in walkouts, which lasted, on average, 25 minutes. The statement said the activity wasn't school-sponsored and that “students who chose to participate will not face disciplinary consequences.”
‘Disconnect’ Between Parents and SchoolsCarla, a licensed professional counselor specializing in adolescents, young adults, and women, who has her own business in northern Virginia, has seen first-hand the rise of gender identity issues among her clients in the past few years. Carla is a pseudonym to protect her identity and business practice.
“I have seen more clients [students] disappointed and frustrated that the school allows the lack of boundaries. They’re confused and saddened by the disconnect between their parents and the school,” she told The Epoch Times.
“It feels hidden, covert from their parents, yet free-feeling that they can keep something imperative from their parents. But they’re smart. They intuitively know it is wrong. They feel equal and on the same playing field as their teachers, and they know that’s not OK."
Pride Liberation Project’s statement quoted a queer student’s worry about the impact of the new policies: “As a closeted student, my friends and I are terrified that we won’t be able to come home if these proposed guidelines go through.”
Carla responded: “My thoughts are, ‘Go home! See what will happen.’ Maybe you’re wrong. You’re not inventing the wheel. Maybe your parents are stronger than you think. Maybe starting at home where you are loved is healthier than a sterile, boundary-less institution whose initial sole mission was to educate, not indoctrinate.”