Inspired by Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, young people from around the world have joined the Fridays for Future movement and are showing their support by participating in climate change rallies. Currently, there is a student climate change rally planned for Friday, September 27 at Queen’s Park. To be clear, this is not a TDSB-sanctioned event, however we understand that students at a number of our schools may take part. At the TDSB, we honour student voice and are committed to ensuring students can express themselves individually and collectively in ways that are constructive, respectful and responsible.
As a Board, we know that climate change is an important issue that needs to be addressed and that students play an important role in building an environmentally sustainable future. The TDSB EcoSchools Program provides opportunities within the classroom, the school, and the community for students to engage in education actions that prepare them with the knowledge, skills, perspectives, and practices they need to be environmentally responsible citizens. This approach is guided by the TDSB’s Global Competencies, which encourage students to engage in local and global concepts and initiatives while demonstrating responsibility and ethical citizenship.
With regards to the September 27 rally, safety is our top priority for students who may be planning to participate. We’ve asked our schools to work closely with student organizers so that their plans include consideration of student safety and logistical issues.
As always, students under the age of 18 require parental permission to leave class. Any students who are not in attendance at school will be marked absent. As is the case with all absences where parental permission has been granted, the absence will be deemed “explained.”
To ensure students receive no academic penalty for taking part in the rally, we have also asked our schools to avoid scheduling tests and other assessments on that day.
In the days ahead, we will be providing additional curriculum resources to support our teachers as they provide learning opportunities for students on climate change. Additional resources are also available for parents and students.
We encourage parents/guardians to discuss this climate change rally with their child(ren). Student voice and action is important for our students and parent/guardian involvement in this process is key.