PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Students in Hampton Roads and across the commonwealth organized walkouts on Tuesday to protest new model policies from Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration that would roll back protections for transgender students.

The Pride Liberation Project, “an entirely student-led LGBTQIA+ advocacy organization based in Virginia with over 500 student members,” announced on Monday that students at nearly 100 schools would be participating to push the Virginia Department of Education to “revoke these draft guidelines and for individual school districts to reject these proposed changes.”

Chopper 10 flew over over more than 30 students at First Colonial High School in Virginia Beach who were outside at about 1:30 Tuesday afternoon, holding signs and flying a rainbow flag in support of transgender students.

A student at Bayside High School went outside draped in the pink, light blue and white colors of the transgender flag and circled the school’s flag pole.

Virginia School Superintendent Jillian Balow told 10 On Your Side Tuesday afternoon that the draft model policies would put more control in the hands of parents of transgender students.

“Often times this is the biggest and most difficult decision that they’ve wrestled with, and certainly parents should be a part of that discussion and a part of that decision-making process,” Balow said in a zoom interview.

Opponents say the proposed guidelines would deny transgender students a basic level of respect, isolate them and harm them, by forcing them to come out as transgender to their parents before they’re prepared to do that.

Balow says a transgender student’s identity at school should be consistent with their identity at home.

“If they’re out at school, they’re going by one name and possibly a different identity at home. Our goal should really be to use the supports that exist in our schools, our communities, to really bring families and schools and communities together,” she said.

Students at Manor High in Portsmouth, Warwick High in Newport News, Grafton High in York County, and several schools in Williamsburg-James City County and Virginia Beach were on the list of schools planning to participate. The walkout times varied for each school.

There were also several bigger protests in Northern Virginia on Tuesday.

Students at McLean High School in McLean, Va., walk out of classes Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Matthew Barakat)

The new model policies from the Virginia Department of Education say schools would need written permission from parents for teachers to address a student by a different name or pronouns, unless the student is a legal adult.

However, even if there is written permission from parents, the policy also says school divisions can’t force school personnel or students to refer to students “in any manner that would violate their constitutionally protected rights.”

Teachers also can’t conceal information related to gender from a student’s parent.

And while the policies say students need to use restrooms and other facilities according to their sex assigned at birth, it includes “except to the extent that federal law otherwise requires.”

Experts say that means federal protections will still allow students to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity.

“This order specifically recognizes that they have rights under federal law and it does not attempt to change any of those rights under federal law, nor could it do so even if it wanted to,” said University of Richmond Law Professor Jack Preis.

The policies from the Youngkin administration have led to heavy backlash, and questions of whether they violate existing law.

A former student at York High School who is transgender told WAVY that she considers the policies a “slap in the face” and dangerous.

“With Youngkin’s proposal to implement these policies it’s going to create a new wave of suicidality in young trans students, especially in Virginia,” said Trixie Henry, who’s now a student at VCU.

Students at McLean High School in McLean, Va., walk out of classes Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Matthew Barakat)

Youngkin’s education department has said model policies from former Gov. Ralph Northam meant to prevent discrimination against transgender students “disregarded the rights of parents.”

The 30-day public comment period for the new model policies started on Monday. The Department of Education has already received thousands of comments.