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Sheffield school strike: Pupils protest climate destruction

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Photo by Martin Abegglen (Wikimedia Commons)

Dozens of Sheffield pupils are set to walk out of school on Friday in protest against government inaction on climate change.

The city's first Youth Strike 4 Climate will see pupils leave schools across the city and gather outside the Town Hall at 11am.

They'll be joined by Lord Mayor Magid Magid, who said in December that if we do not act now "the consequences will be apocalyptic for civilisation and the natural world."

The planned action echoes similar movements across Europe, which have seen thousands of children walk out of schools on Friday lunchtimes to protest against environmental destruction.

It's about demonstrating the urgency of the situation

Parents at King Edward school in Broomhall were threatened in a letter from the headteacher on Wednesday that participation in the strike would be recorded as an unauthorised absence.

"It's freedom of expression," parent Kiri Smith told Now Then about her daughter's decision to strike from King Edward. "It's about demonstrating the urgency of the situation and about empowering pupils to use what little power they have to try to pressure for high level action."

Since then, Smith has received an email from the headteacher stating that pupils with parental permission can attend the strike on the proviso that they write about their reasons for striking in the school newsletter.

"I'm really pleased that the school engaged in this dialogue and am sorry that they felt obliged to send a threatening letter to parents," said Smith. "I know of several who have now forbidden their child from attending because of in-school consequences."

The effects of climate change are predicted to be so potentially drastic that all life on Earth is in danger of extinction

224 academics have expressed their support for the nationwide series of strikes in a joint letter to The Guardian.

The movement is inspired by Swedish 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who staged the first school strike for the climate in August 2018.

"The effects of climate change are predicted to be so potentially drastic that all life on Earth is in danger of extinction," said Youth Strike 4 Climate in a statement.

"Millions of young people are realising it's now or never and are ready to take direct action on the climate crisis and ecological catastrophe."

Sam Gregory

Sheffield's first Youth Strike 4 Climate are assembling outside the Town Hall at 11am on Friday.

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