The school’s principal sent out a notification Wednesday reminding parents about the event
With the Global Climate Strike around the corner, education leaders of the Santa Barbara Unified School District are preparing for what’s to come.
“We are aware of a Global Climate Strike that is emerging globally and locally in Santa Barbara,” Santa Barbara High principal Elise Simmons wrote Wednesday morning via ParentSquare, the communication app utilized by the school district.
The strike — supported by organizations such as Christian Aid, Patagonia, Amnesty International, Levi Strauss & Co, and the Harry Potter Alliance — is slated to begin Friday until Sept. 27.
“This shouldn’t be the children’s responsibility,” said 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg said in a video on globalclimatestrike.net. “Now the adults also need to help us.”
Dr. Simmons wrote in the ParentSquare message that she and her team have been in “close communication with SBHS student leaders who are passionate about the environment and we are aware of their plans related to Friday, Sept. 20th. We are prepared to provide active supervision for their safety.”
This active supervision, Dr. Simmons told the News-Press, will take in the form of staff members walking with students who are taking part in the strike. Students plan on meeting up around 10:30 a.m., leaving campus around 10:45 a.m. and walking down Anapamu Street towards De La Guerra Plaza where a rally is expected to start around 11 a.m.
“If a teacher finds,” Dr. Simmons said to the News-Press, “that their entire class has decided to participate,” the teacher will participate in this walk to De La Guerra Plaza.
When asked what has urged the school’s staff to provide supervision by for student safety during the march, Dr. Simmons said, “It’s our duty to provide supervision to our students.”
The high school principal highlighted the law in Wednesday’s message.
“By law, students are expected to stay on campus and if they choose to leave class it will be an unexcused absence per California Education Code,” wrote Dr. Simmons. “While we respect our students’ First Amendment right to free speech on political topics, we expect students to stay on campus.”
Santa Barbara High, according to Dr. Simmons, has an 18-period threshold for unexcused absences before a letter is sent home to the student’s home.
“18 periods so about three days,” Dr. Simmons told the News-Press.
With the strike predicted to take up two to three periods, Dr. Simmons said it will be unlikely that students run into trouble with the district attorney.
For those who regularly skips school, however, these two to three periods may tip them over that threshold.
“It’ll add up for them,” said Dr. Simmons. “For the average student, it’s not going to lead to disciplinary action or anything like that.”
Students who decide to go on strike under these circumstances would be joining a global movement.
“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,” writes the strike’s website. “Our house is on fire — let’s act like it. We demand climate justice for everyone.”
Wednesday’s notification, said Dr. Simmons, is meant to encourage dialogue.
“We have prepared this communication so you can have a conversation with your children at home,” she said.