Conference 2019: Supporting the students on climate change
Over Easter, the first NEU Conference debated the latest UN Climate Change report. It was agreed that we should approach other unions and ask them to lobby government and press them to carry out their obligation under the Paris Agreement. It was agreed that we have to help lead a Just Transition, shifting energy production, transport, housing and agriculture onto a sustainable basis within the lifetimes of the children currently in our schools.
An amendment was passed that included our support for the students striking or protesting against climate change. In particular, we agreed to oppose any reprisals, such as detentions and exclusions, against students taking action to fight climate change. The rights to strike and protest are fundamental democratic rights for students and workers alike and the NEU calls on schools not to take action against students.
We stand with you on the right side of history, said Nicky Downes from Coventry.
At the March Leicester NEU meeting we were lucky to have Joseph from WQE1 and Karen from Beauchamp College taking about the student action. They described how the strikes were well organised, didn't cause any harm and required no police intervention. Support from passers-by was positive, but they were disappointed by lack of support from their schools or colleges. They explained that some schools had applied harsh penalties for students attending rallies, including isolation, detentions and parental fines.
They highlighted the irony of schools encouraging children to have a voice and supporting freedom of speech, but then punishing them when they use it!