Glasgow becomes latest council to back youth climate strikes

Glasgow City Council has become the latest to confirm that students who miss school to take part in global climate protests will not face punishment if they have the support of parents or carers.

The move – revealed in a letter from council chief Annemarie O’Donnell to Glasgow’s Green MSP Patrick Harvie – represents a shift in the council’s message from before the last youth climate strike when they suggested young people would be classed as truanting (1) and follows councillors in Edinburgh backing a Green motion urging support for climate strikers and a call from Mr Harvie for Glasgow to do the same (2).

Ms O’Donnell’s letter states “there is no intention to take punitive action, however young people will be expected to show they have permission in order that their absence from school be recorded as authorised.”

Tens of thousands of children and young people are expected to take part in the next global climate strike which takes place this Friday, 15 March 2019, in almost 100 countries worldwide and up to 100 locations across the UK.

Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer said:

“It’s great to see Scotland’s two biggest councils take a lead and commit not to punish young people exercising their right to strike over the single most important crisis they, or any of us, will ever face. Curriculum for Excellence calls on young Scots to be responsible citizens. In the face of a climate crisis and no adequate government response, taking action is clearly the responsible choice.

“This now means young people in Glasgow can act on their convictions for a better world without fear of sanction. They already have the support of the Scottish Greens and we hope that other councils and all political parties will give their backing in the next few days. These courageous young people deserve to have their voices heard. It would be utterly wrong for them to be silenced through fear of punishment.”