Are You Going to a Youth Climate Strike?

Are You Going to a Youth Climate Strike?

Find all our Student Opinion questions here.

Did you know about the youth climate strikes that are happening around the world this Friday? Will you be attending? If so, what is your school’s policy about skipping classes to be there?

In “Climate Strike N.Y.C.: 1.1 Million Can Skip School for Protest,” Anne Barnard writes:

When New York City announced that public school students could skip classes without penalties to join the youth climate strikes planned around the world on Friday, you could almost hear a sigh of relief.

Before the announcement, the protests, to be held three days ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit here, had thrown a new complication into the usual back-to-school chaos: With the protests framed as a cry to protect their futures from climate disaster, should students heed the call?

Parents had wondered how to word emails to principals requesting excused absences. Teachers had been wondering how to react. Some students had been vowing to protest no matter what, but others had worried about possible repercussions.

Most of all, the decision last week by the nation’s largest school district buoyed national protest organizers, who are hoping that the demonstrations will be the largest on climate in the country’s history, with at least 800 planned across the 50 states. They expressed hope that other districts around the country would follow suit.

… But many critics — ranging from climate-change deniers to people who argue for a less radical approach to fighting climate change — said Mayor Bill de Blasio was using school attendance policy to promote a political aim. The New York Post’s editorial board called the decision “out-and-out government sponsorship of a particular point of view.”

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

  • What do you think of New York City’s decision to let public school students skip classes on Friday without penalties? If you agree with it, how would you respond to the critics who say that it is “government sponsorship of a particular point of view”?

  • How important is this issue to you in general? Do you agree with the student quoted in this piece who suggests that climate change is as urgent, tangible and possible to address through legislation as gun violence is?

  • Have you been to other protests, on this issue or any other? What have those experiences been like? Do you think protesting is an effective way to make your voice heard?

Students 13 and older are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.