Schools urged to allow students to join climate protests
Scottish schools should allow pupils to attend climate protests on Friday, the Children and Young People’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 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.
The protests, Mr Adamson said, will likely have an impact on the learning of those who attend, but have a wider importance to their education.
“Choosing to strike will undoubtedly have a short-term impact on children and young people’s school-based learning,” he wrote to the 32 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.”
Advocating that youngsters who attend the strikes are not adversely impacted, 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.”
Speaking to The Scotsman, Police Scotland Chief Superintendent Mark Sutherland insisted the force was committed to supporting people’s right to protest.
He said: “Police Scotland is a rights-based organisation that puts our values of integrity, fairness, respect and a commitment to upholding human rights at the heart of everything we do.
“This means we are committed to supporting the human rights of individuals and groups who wish to assemble, balanced against the rights of the wider community and ensuring the safety of everyone involved.
"We have a proportionate policing plan in place to support and facilitate the ‘Friday for Future Scotland’ event."
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