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My Letters Urging City, State & School Superintendents to Excuse Students from Classes to Attend Sept 20 Global Climate Strike

September 16th, 2019

Dear Seattle City School Board and Superintendent Juneau,

I hope the 2019-2020 school year is going well so far. As I am sure you are aware, on Friday, September 20th, hundreds of Seattle Public School students will walk out of classes to take part in the Global Climate Strike. The strike action is part of global movements demanding immediate action from political officials in response to the impending climate catastrophe. It is now expected to be one of the largest protests ever, with 3,500 strikes in 117 countries and more than 700 in the U.S. alone. 

I am writing to ask that you please respect Seattle students’ right to participate in the Global Climate Strike and excuse them from classes on Friday, September 20th, to do so. After decades of inaction by corporate politicians and a recent report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change giving humanity just 12 years before surpassing a critical threshold of 1.5 Degrees Celsius of warming, young people are correct to be outraged, and they have no choice but to take action. 

School boards across the country and world have a role to play in the struggle to protect our planet. The New York City Public School system is supporting the movement, and has announced plans to excuse students from school for the Climate Strike. It sent out the following Tweet on September 12th: “@NYCschools will excuse absences of students participating in the #ClimateStrike on Friday 9/20. Students will need parental consent. Young students can only leave school with a parent.”

The head of Amnesty International has also asked school officials worldwide to “let pupils join the historic climate strikes on the 20th.” The Seattle City Council reiterated that appeal just today, unanimously passing a resolution from my Council office which “urges Seattle Public Schools to support its students’ right to assemble and participate in the Global Climate Strike on September 20, 2019.”

Furthermore, given the likely participation of hundreds, even thousands, of Seattle school students in the September 20th Climate Strike, this will also allow parents, teachers, and administrators to better plan for the day to ensure students’ safety above all else. My office, together with students and organizations in the movement, are available to discuss further, and would also be happy to address this at the upcoming Seattle School Board meeting on September 18th. Seattle Public Schools should stand with the global climate justice movement, and excuse students so they can participate in the Global Climate Strike on September 20th. 

Thank you,

L:\Photos\Signatures\Sawant\KshamaSignature.jpg

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant


September 16, 2019

Dear Governor Inslee and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Reykdal,

As I am sure you are aware, on Friday, September 20th, thousands of public school students in more than 20 cities across Washington will walk out of classes to take part in the Global Climate Strike. The strike action is part of global movements demanding immediate action from political officials in response to the impending climate catastrophe. It is now expected to be one of the largest protests ever, with 3,500 strikes in 117 countries and more than 700 in the U.S. alone. 

I am writing a letter to the Seattle School Board and Superintendent Juneau, asking them to please respect Seattle students’ right to participate in the Global Climate Strike, and excuse them from classes on Friday, September 20th, to do so. I am writing this letter to ask that you both, Governor Inslee and Superintendent Reykdal, use your authority to support the climate justice movement, and allow public school students across Washington state to do the same. 

After decades of inaction by corporate politicians and a recent report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change giving humanity just 12 years before surpassing a critical threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, young people are correct to be outraged and have no choice but to take action. 

School boards across the country and world have a role to play in the struggle to protect our planet. The New York City Public School system is supporting the movement, and has announced plans to excuse students from school for the Climate Strike. It sent out the following Tweet on Sept 12: “@NYCschools will excuse absences of students participating in the #ClimateStrike on Friday 9/20. Students will need parental consent. Young students can only leave school with a parent.” 

The head of Amnesty International has also asked school officials worldwide to “let pupils join the historic climate strikes on the 20th.” The Seattle City Council reiterated that appeal just today, unanimously passing a resolution from my Council Office, which “urges Seattle Public Schools to support its students’ right to assemble and participate in the Global Climate Strike on September 20, 2019.”

Furthermore, given the likely participation of several thousand Washington State school students in the September 20th Climate Strike, this will also allow parents, teachers, and administrators to better plan for the day to ensure students’ safety above all else. My office, together with students and organizations in the movement, are available to discuss further of course. Washington Public Schools should stand with the global climate justice movement, and excuse students so they can participate in the Global Climate Strike on September 20th. 

Thank you,

L:\Photos\Signatures\Sawant\KshamaSignature.jpg

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant


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