Students Plan ‘Climate Strike’ Walkout Friday

Some Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) students have planned to walk out of their classes tomorrow, Friday, March 15, to advocate for stronger action on climate change and progress on a Green New Deal. The students, who are marching as part of an international, youth-driven “School Strike 4 Climate,” plan to walk first to Alameda City Hall and then back to Crab Cove, where speakers will address the assembled crowd.

Encinal Junior & Senior High School students Emma Kohler and Olivia Brune organized the march in partnership with the Sierra Club and Political and Proud. Students in Europe, Australia and other countries around the world have been striking for stronger action on climate change for several months and are also planning to walk out on March 15. 

AUSD supports students’ rights to collective action and free speech, and students won’t be disciplined for their activities on March 15.  Middle- and high-school students, however, will receive “unexcused” absences for the periods during which they are out of class on March 15, as is mandated under state law. In some cases, unexcused absences can lead to other consequences (such as being unable to attend school activities). 

Principals of local schools are prepared to answer questions about this action.

“We appreciate the work our students are doing to engage in the political process and raise their voices to affect change, especially about the topic of environmentalism,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “This is a topic about which AUSD cares deeply. But we encourage families to talk about their schools’ policies on absences, as well as the importance of being respectful and constructive if they choose to participate in activities. We want our students to be politically aware and civically engaged. We also want them to be responsible and safe.”