Mid Argyll students defiant over climate campaign

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Pupils across Mid Argyll were readying themselves to demand urgent action from political leaders to tackle climate change – until Argyll and Bute Council attempted to stop them in their tracks.

A year ago, inspired by Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg, young people around the world began ‘climate striking’ – walking out of school for a few hours to demand action against global warming. In May, when 1.4 million children around the world walked out of school, they asked for adults to join them next time. That next time is today, Friday September 20, as a global climate strike takes place.

Despite Lochgilphead High School trying to discourage pupils from taking part in the Global Climate Strike at a school assembly on Tuesday, many pupils were adamant they would still attend the strike today as they believe the cause is too great to be ignored.

Alfie Smith, a sixth year pupil from the school, said: ‘Although as students we don’t want to miss out on our studies, we feel it is vital to draw attention to our climate crisis.

‘I have been studying environmental science at Argyll College and learning about our warming climate. As individuals we can only make small changes in our lives, so we are striking together to persuade the government to make big changes.’

Via a letter issued through the school to parents earlier in the week, Argyll and Bute Council gave pupils and parents the impression students would be prevented from participating in the demonstrations.

The council’s approach, however, appeared to have softened when approached by the Argyllshire Advertiser to comment on the event. A spokesperson said: ‘Climate change is an important issue which is increasingly part of our young people’s educations.

‘While we would not seek to prevent pupils from expressing their views, it is ultimately for parents and guardians to decide on whether to allow their children to be absent from school.’

Banners raised, Lochgilphead pupils will be marching from the school campus to Lochgilphead front green at 11am today. A short educational talk about climate change and the purpose of the world wide strikes will be led by adults joining the group.

Meanwhile in Tarbert, by the harbour, the P6/7 class from Tarbert Academy will be participating in the global event, displaying banners and handing out leaflets they have made.

LATE NEWS:
A letter to Lochgilphead High School parents, issued on Thursday September 19, sought to clarify ‘misunderstanding’ about the letter of clarification sent two days earlier prohibiting pupils from leaving school ‘no matter how worthy the cause’ due to the local authority’s duty of care responsibilities.
With an apology for any confusion about the contents of the first letter, the September 19 letter stated: ‘…we cannot authorise pupil absence but this does
not preclude any individual attending an event with the support of her or his parent.’