UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN) joined a schools strike held in many countries on Friday 15 February 2019 because they felt that, facing a lethal ecological crisis, the young generation must take direct action where the older generation has failed. As Greta Thunberg said, “You don’t have to school strike, it’s your own choice. But why should we be studying for a future that soon may be no more?”.
UKSCN feel that protesting and striking is our best way to force the government to take action.
You can click here for a further detailed list of 10 reasons we need to fight for Climate Justice.
The movement started in August when the 16-year-old schoolgirl Greta Thunberg held a solo protest outside Sweden’s parliament. Now, according to the Guardian, up to 70,000 schoolchildren each week are taking part in 270 towns and cities worldwide.
A spokeswoman for Prime Minister Theresa may said: “Everybody wants young people to be engaged with the issues that affect them most so that we can build a brighter future for all of us. But it is important to emphasise that disruption increases teachers’ workloads and wastes lesson time that teachers have carefully prepared for. That time is crucial for young people, precisely so that they can develop into the top scientists, engineers and advocates we need to help tackle this problem.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: “Climate change is the greatest threat that we all face but it is the school kids of today whose futures are most on the line. They are right to feel let down by the generation before them and it’s inspiring to see them making their voice heard today. #SchoolStrike4Climate.”
A global schools strike is scheduled for 15 March.
What are the rules about taking a day off school?
According to the Department for Education, children are normally only authorised to take days off for medical reasons or “exceptional circumstances”. However a letter to schools written by protesters’ parents might justify their day of strike. The letter would say something like
Having only 12 years left to cut CO2 emissions by 50 per cent, as per the latest UN IPCC report, is pretty dire and exceptional circumstances to find ourselves in. And it is in that light that I’m giving my child permission to go on strike on [day].
In reality, it will be down to individual schools to decide on what, if anything, happens to protesters, with some strikers saying they’ve had mixed messages. Also parents need to be aware that legally they probably need to supervise their children during the strike and if anything happens they might potentially be held liable for child neglect.