Boy holds sign in Chilliwack, B.C., for Sept. 20, 2019 demonstration, demanding more action on climate change. (Paul Henderson/Chilliwack Progress)

Vancouver is latest B.C. school district to support students’ attending climate strike

Students in Vancouver and Surrey can miss class to attend a protest with their parent’s permission

The two most populous school districts in B.C. will support students wishing to participate in climate strike activities on Friday.

School trustees in Vancouver voted unanimously on Monday to allow its approximately 56,000 students with parental permission to leave classes to attend a climate strike planned for Vancouver City Hall.

Trustees also say students should not be penalized for any assignments or tests missed during strike activities.

The superintendent of the Surrey school district posted a statement last week confirming students with parental permission will be excused from classes in that district on Friday and will be allowed to make up missed work without penalty.

Roughly 74,000 students attend primary and secondary schools in Surrey.

Climate strikes are planned across Canada and around the world on Friday, recognizing a movement launched last year by Swedish climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg.

WATCH: Teen activist Greta Thunberg speaks at UN climate summit

Vancouver trustee Allan Wong brought his motion for climate strike support to the school board, arguing trustees must support students who are passionate about halting climate change.

“The students are asking the board, the governments, all three levels of government, to stop, listen, and unite behind the science,” says Wong.

“I think part of the youth movement and the youth strike protest is … trying to address that and get everyone on the same page and just to listen to science.”

Jordan Tinney, superintendent of schools in Surrey said in his statement that the board believes in the need to care for the planet and in the power of education to shape our future, but excusing students to attend the climate strike is a parental decision.

Emily Carr University of Art and Design is cancelling all classes on Friday, while UBC and Simon Fraser University leave class cancellations up to instructors, and the University of Victoria urges instructors to “be understanding” of student wishes.

Climate strike activities around the world have been timed to coincide with the United Nations Climate Action Summit underway in New York.

READ MORE: Some Canadian schools, colleges move to accommodate climate strikes

READ MORE: MEC and LUSH stores to close on Friday for global climate strikes

Thunberg delivered an impassioned speech about the climate crisis to the United Nations on Monday.

She will be in Montreal on Friday to take part in the planned climate strike there. (News1130)

The Canadian Press

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