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Education Minister 'expects' educators to discourage climate strike participation

Last Updated Sep 23, 2019 at 9:05 pm MDT

Protesters call for immediate action and to listen to the science of climate change during a climate strike outside Calgary City Hall. Friday, September 20th, 2019. (PHOTO: Tom Ross - 660 NEWS)

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) — An Edmonton school board trustee argues that students should not be punished for taking part in a climate strike during class hours.

However, the Education Minister disagrees.

In a statement issued a spokesperson for Minister Adriana LaGrange, they accused school board trustee Michael Janz of being an activist.

Meanwhile, Janz says the motion he plans to present at an Edmonton public school board meeting aims to give students a voice in the ongoing discussion around the environment and says it fits in with the public board’s broader message.

“We will be asking teachers not to schedule tests or assignments on these days, so our students will have a chance to engage in our democracy, engage as citizens, and take part in these important conversations about the future of life on earth,” he said.

He is calling on his to colleagues to “support a kind of academic amnesty for students.”

As the calls for action on climate change continue to mount globally, he wants students to be able to participate in these conversations around climate change.

“We’re in the middle of a federal election right now and it’s critical that these aren’t just conversations happening between candidates, but that they’re conversations happening between our youngest Canadians, their parents and teachers.”

However, the statement from the Education Minister spokesperson stated, “Our government expects education professionals to encourage students to engage meaningfully in their academics, rather than encourage them to skip tests or assignments.”

Further, the government said it’s up to parents and guardians, not an “activist school board trustee” to determine if their child misses class.

Janz countered that Minister LaGrange was a Red Deer school trustee when students from that city were bused to Edmonton for an anti-abortion gathering.

With files from Megan McPhaden.