Youth climate strikers blast Edinburgh Council plans to limit absence permission

YOUTH climate protesters have accused education bosses of labelling them “truants” amid proposals to limit authorised absences to take part in demonstrations to one per school year.

Wednesday, 14th August 2019, 2:05 pm
Youth climate strikers in Edinburgh

On Friday, the city council’s education, children and families committee will discuss proposals on whether to allow pupils to skip lessons to protest against the climate emergency as part of a global movement of young people.

Earlier this year, pupils were allowed to take part in two separate demonstrations, with parental consent, after councillors backed emergency motions.

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But a damning report by officials found that most headteachers were unhappy with councillors giving the absences the thumbs up. Now, the SNP-Labour administration will bring forward plans to limit the number of times an authorised absence will be granted to once every school year.

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Scottish Youth Climate Strike (SYCS) is planning more large scale strikes for September 20 and September 27.

Dylan Hamilton, age 15, an organiser with SYCS said: “The climate crisis is the biggest threat to humanity, with the group most affected being the children. We are the ones who will be impacted the most, and all we want is a seat at the table with effective climate targets being decided. Allowing us to protest once a year is simply not acceptable and will not let us get across how serious this is to the people in power.

“Instead of marking us as truants, we should be praised and given help to catch up for adhering to values our schools promote such as celebrating citizenship and being an effective contributor.”

He added: “Our classic educations, such as preparation for exams, may suffer because of the strikes. However, by striking we learn politics, organisation,science, independence and more about society than we’ve ever been taught. To say we are harming our education is untruthful.”

“Furthermore, punishing pupils for attending the climate strikes is a violation of our human right to freedom of expression. We urge Edinburgh council to take back this proposal and instead focus on fixing the climate crisis, so we don’t feel the need to protest instead of going to school.”

A council spokesperson said: “The climate change strikes by children report will be discussed at education committee on Friday.”