Youth Climate Rally in Pali Friday

Global youth strike prior to UN Climate Summit

By Sam Catanzaro

On Friday, three days before the UN Climate Summit in New York City, many students in Pacific Palisades will participate in a climate rally along with young people and adults throughout the world.

“People and adults will strike all across the US and world to demand transformative action be taken to address the climate crisis. Millions of us will walk out of our workplaces and homes to join young climate strikers on the streets and demand an end to the age of fossil fuels,” said the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, who is helping to organize the event.

The strike is inspired by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old teenage climate activist who last year began skipping school every Friday to protest outside the Swedish parliament calling for action on climate change. Thunberg then sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to New York in a zero-emissions boat to attend U.N. climate talks and to participate in protests.

In Pacific Palisades, the climate strike will take place at 4:00 p.m. in front of the Village Green on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Swarthmore Avenue.

Because the rally is scheduled for after school hours, Palisades students do not have to worry about missing class but Palisades Charter High School students who attend a 12 p.m. rally outside City Hall in Downtown Los Angeles will be marked as absent, according to the school.

Similarly, in Santa Monica, another climate rally is set for 11 a.m. and Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent (SMMUSD) Dr. Ben Drati says any student missing school Friday in the district to participate in the strike will be marked as absent.

“SMMUSD schools are not sanctioning, coordinating or facilitating any planned student walkouts. This includes elementary, middle and high schools. We are unable to support various strikes or protests, as this would be a big disruption to our teaching and learning programming on our campuses,” Drati said in a statement released Wednesday. “Any student who is missing from class will be marked as an unexcused cut for the missing time. Students who leave school without permission are jeopardizing their own safety.”

Instead, Drati said that several schools will be planning in-school educational activities on Friday relating to the climate movement.

SMMUSD asks parents would like their child to participate in any walkout to sign them out of school to mark their absence as a “parent excuse,” considered an unexcused absence, as opposed to an unexcused cut.

On Wednesday, the New York City Department of Education announced that the district will excuse absences of students participating in the climate strike with parental permission.

According to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), it is up to each local district to decide whether or not students participating will be marked with an unexcused absence. The Palisades News has reached out to LAUSD Local District West, which serves many Westside families, seeking more information but they could not immediately be reached for comment.

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