Brighton schools more ‘relaxed’ ahead of second Youth Strike 4 Climate demonstration


Youth Strike 4 Climate is getting ready for a second major protest, which will take place tomorrow 15th March 2019 from 11AM by Churchill Square shopping centre.

This is set to be one of the biggest youth climate strikes yet, taking place in more than 1,000 cities across over 80 countries.

The first strike in Brighton took place exactly one month ago, on the 15th of February. Hundreds of pupils and students skipped classes to join the protest. A number of MPs, including Caroline Lucas, were present on the day.

Schools have strongly encouraged students to attend school, warning parents that their children would face serious consequences should they skip classes.

©Meghann Creffield

Brighton Journal spoke to Meghann Creffield, whose son attends Dorothy Stringer School. She told us that the school has been more relaxed for this second strike compared to last month’s one.

The school is much more relaxed. The first time they threatened an hour detention if students left school. I think how it is being handled now is much more positive and inclusive, most likely from the first strike and the wonderful behaviour of the students that attended.

Meghann also told us she sent her son to the march despite the school’s threats, and that eventually the school did not take any action as too many students attended the first strike.

A number of schools, including Varndean School and Dorothy Stringer School, have sent emails to the parents stating that ‘they have made arrangements that children can get permission slips for parents to sign taking responsibility for their child’s attendance at the demonstration’, a user reported on Facebook.

©Ellie Wyatt

Despite being in favour of the strike, many parents, including Meghann, are supportive of the school’s action. The slips signed by the parents will guarantee the children’s location on the day of the strike.

“I think parents and teachers being unaware of where students are is a bigger concern. What if there was a fire for example?” says Meghann.

Another Facebook user wrote:

They may want slips so that they know why the child is absent and if they will be at the protest, and not simply missing. Imagine that a child didn’t turn up on Friday and the school assumed the child was at the protest, but had actually been kidnapped and was in danger, and no one knew until the parents realised and wondered why the school didn’t ask. It’s unlikely, but it helps safeguard the school if they have evidence of where the child is if not at school on a school day.

Many concerned parents also want to make sure their kids have a genuine interest for the strike and global change, rather than using the day as an excuse to skip school and enjoy the day off.

Meghann asked her son to write a 500-word statement: that was the condition he had to meet to attend the march.

We reported here an extract:

My school claims to be an “eco-school”, and regularly does massive things to help the environment. They are even in the “Eco School of Fame”. Despite all this, we are being told we are NOT allowed to go and protest to get the government’s attention, and that we will receive punishments for it. I genuinely think this is f*****g ridiculous, yet also ironic.

I find it ironic how the government-run and funded establishment is threatening us, to stop us going to a protest about the government not listening to us. The fact we would be punished for caring about the environment is absurd. I personally think that the punishments are an empty threat, and if the school does actually plan on punishing the 500+ children from my school leaving to go and protest, and they do follow through with the punishments, I will personally organise a protest at the school, and get as many students and parents as possible to make formal complaints about the absolute f*****y of this.

Featured image ©Ellie Wyatt


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