School District 23 students attending climate change rally to be marked absent

Students will be considered absence if they skip classes for climate change rallies without notice

Dozens of students were in front of Kelowna City Hall last Friday to show their support in the first rally (Connor Trembley - Kelowna Capital News)

Students will be permitted to attend local climate change rallies taking place around Kelowna this week, however, they will be considered absent if they skip class.

Kevin Kaardal, the superintendent of Central Okanagan Public Schools district, said the local school district doesn’t have the authority to excuse students to participate in the events because they can not guarantee their safety.

READ MORE: People protested outside Kelowna City Hall today to demand more action on climate change

“We are not aware of what planning has occurred to ensure the safety of participants during these events (or) if safe travel to and from these events is organized,” said Kaardal in a press release.

“While School Districts are responsible for the safety of students on school property, student safety cannot be guaranteed for students participating in any non-sanctioned activity.”

Last Friday, dozens of students attended the first climate rally held outside Kelowna City Hall. Later on that day more than a dozen climate protesters temporarily shut down Bernard Avenue to demand more action by politicians on the issue.

Kaardal said the school can’t personally dismiss students, however, parents and guardians can contact their school to personally excuse their children.

“Our lessons are carefully planned to support students in meeting curricular competencies. The District encourages students to remain in school and attend their lessons,” said Kaardal.

The remaining two climate rallies are scheduled to be held tomorrow (Thursday) from 1-3 p.m. in the UBCO Central Courtyard and on Friday from 12:00-2:00 p.m. at Kelowna City Hall.


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