Allow pupils to join climate protest, says commissioner

Children's commissioner urges education bosses not to penalise students for attending climate demonstrations

Tes Reporter

Allow school students to join climate protests, says children's commissioner

Scottish schools should allow pupils to attend climate protests tomorrow, the children’s commissioner has said.

A series of demonstrations will be held this week to mark the return of the regular climate strikes popularised by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

Fridays for Future Scotland will lead the strikes, and Scotland's children and young people’s commissioner, Bruce Adamson, has written to the heads of education in each local council asking for pupils not to be penalised for attending.

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The protests, Mr Adamson said, will likely have an impact on the learning of those who attend but they will have a wider importance to their education.

Climate change strikes 'part of students' broader education'

“Choosing to strike will undoubtedly have a short-term impact on children and young people’s school-based learning,” he wrote to Scotland's 32 council directors of education.

“However, their actions as human rights defenders in bringing attention to the threat of climate change, and their demands for those in power to take action, is part of their broader education.

“We should recognise the courage that children and young people are demonstrating in their commitment to addressing climate change as an urgent and acute human rights issue.”

He added: “It is important that when children and young people take these peaceful and powerful actions, they are not silenced, discouraged or punished.

“I trust that you, as education leaders, will recognise the importance of this urgent global issue and will ensure that the children and young people taking part in climate strikes are given the support to which they are entitled.”

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