Pupils outraged as Edinburgh Council 'ban' them from climate protests

Students take part in a global school strike for climate change outside the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh. Pic: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Students take part in a global school strike for climate change outside the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh. Pic: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
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School pupils have been left outraged after Edinburgh City Council revealed a proposal to limit their protests over the climate emergency to just one day a year.

Following two separate emergency motions by Green councillors earlier this year, pupils were allowed to attend climate emergency demonstrations with parental permission on a one-off basis.

READ MORE: Pupils will only be allowed one day to strike for climate action after Edinburgh Council backtrack

But now education officers have told councillors that “potential for adverse risk to children who are absent and unsupervised is high and runs counter to child protection and raising attainment.”

The council's education, children and families committee will vote this week on whether to limit the participation in the protests.

And in a statement released on Wednesday by the Scottish Youth Climate Strike (SYCS), a group of pupils organising protests across the country, describes the local authority's proposals as a ban on attending climate protests. .

Dylan Hamilton, 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."

"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."