Following strikes from school children in Australia and across Europe to highlight climate change, the question being asked here is what would happen if students walked out of Greater Victoria classrooms?
On Feb. 15, thousands of British students walked out in protest of their government’s climate change policies. They were supported by 100 professors, and numerous teachers and principals. There have been no reports of students sanctioned by schools for the strike.
Recently in Victoria, a small group of students missed school to visit Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps to discuss the climate crisis, later protesting at the B.C. Parliament Buildings, and a group in Toronto is encouraging a nationwide walk-out.
So what would happen if there were mass student walk-outs in Greater Victoria?
The B.C. Education ministry said there is no policy for students striking and it would be up to individual school districts in how to respond.
SD62 superintendent Scott Stinson said, “We believe in the power of student voice and choice, and the power of individually deciding on how to express their beliefs.”
Lindsay Vogan, the district’s public relations and community engagement manager, added, “Often our students don’t want to miss school and come up with alternative ways of expressing their opinions.”
SD61 noted in a written statement from their communications office that protests could be limited to break times, “When students express a desire to participate in an activity as such, staff and students will often co-ordinate an event over the lunch hour so students are not missing out on instructional minutes. As social responsibility is one of the District’s core values, we wish to work with and inspire our students to create a better, more sustainable community.”
Saanich School District superintendent Dave Eberwein added SD63 schools provide many valuable opportunities for students to explore their concerns.
“We wouldn’t encourage a walk-out and I would like to meet with students about any issue they feel strongly about. We give them opportunities in clubs, school councils and leadership groups to make their voices heard.”
He noted, “It is important students are active participants in a democratic society and we would respond in a caring and compassionate way.”