As students across the world join the Fridays for Future climate change movement, inspired by teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, two Yellowknife school boards plan to support students’ right to protest by not scheduling tests during this week’s rally.
A Yellowknife rally is planned for this upcoming Friday.
The protest will start at École Sir John Franklin High School at 11:30am, loop around in front of École St Patrick High School, and pass by the post office on Franklin Avenue at noon, before finishing at Somba K’e Park at 12:30pm.
Global climate strikes began on September 20 and are continuing this week.
“This is not a YK1-sanctioned event, however we understand that students at some of our schools may take part,” superintendent Metro Huculak wrote in a letter to parents, nearly identical to one put out by the Toronto District School Board on September 16.
YK1 has asked schools to not schedule tests and assessments on Friday, so as to not academically penalize students who strike for their future.
Similarly, Yvonne Careen – superintendent of the Commission scolaire francophone – said her schools will remain open but tests will not be purposefully scheduled during the strike.
She said some classes will participate in the strike if teachers can tie it into the curriculum, while other individual students will be allowed to participate with parental permission.
Huculak, in his letter, said: “We respect and appreciate student participation and concern for this global movement. We also encourage constructive, respectful, and responsible student participation in different forms of social activism.”
The YK1 school district said its students have an important role to play “in building an environmentally sustainable future.”
However, Huculak noted students under 18 will be marked absent unless they have permission from a parent or guardian to leave class for the rally.
School boards across the country are similarly allowing students to strike.
In Inuvik, where such protests have been taking place for some time, the Beaufort Delta Education Council said a climate march is held every Friday after school instead.
The Dehcho Divisional Education Council said many students are out at on-the-land hunting camps and it has not had requests from schools to support the strike. Other councils contacted said they were looking into the issue.
Meanwhile, major British Columbia-based retailers Mountain Equipment Co-op and Lush Cosmetics are to close on Friday until 5pm local time to support the strike.