Fifth-grader Theo Sullivan, 11, organized Tacoma students' climate strike on Friday, March 15, 2019.
Enlarge Icon
Fifth-grader Theo Sullivan, 11, organized Tacoma students' climate strike on Friday, March 15, 2019.
Credit: Courtesy of Grace Sullivan

Seattle students who strike for climate will be marked unexcused

The Global Climate Strike is Friday, and school leaders are preparing for some students to walk out of class.

Denise Juneau, the superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, said they won't be excused.

Juneau said she wants students to learn about climate change and its serious implications, however the district is treating Friday like a normal school day, and that means they'll record absences.

"The best way that we as a teaching and learning organization can help fight climate change is to make sure our students know science, to make sure our students are becoming educated in all the ways that are necessary to affect the change in the future," Juneau said.

This comes as Governor Jay Inslee and the Seattle City Council are advocating for students' rights to walk out.

The City Council passed a resolution this week saying students should not be penalized for participating and that city staff who participate should be able to request a day off without pay.

Inslee has also weighed in, saying in a statement that if he could excuse students himself he would.

Juneau said it comes down to following school policies.

"State law clearly outlines they can certainly be checked out by their parent, they can certainly engage in all of these activities, but it does result in an unexcused absence," she said.

On Friday students, Amazon employees and thousands of other workers are expected to join local protests calling for immediate action on climate change.

A student focused rally will start at Cal Anderson Park and an Amazon employee rally starts at the Amazon spheres; both will march to Seattle City Hall.

This story is part of #CoveringClimateNow, a global media project to bring attention to the story of climate change. You can see all of KUOW's coverage here.