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NYC Kids Allowed To Miss School For 'Climate Strike' Protest

Patch logo Patch 9/13/2019 Noah Manskar
a group of people holding a sign posing for the camera: Students march to the Museum of Natural History to protest the lack of action on global warming and other climate related issues on March 15, 2019. © Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images Students march to the Museum of Natural History to protest the lack of action on global warming and other climate related issues on March 15, 2019.

NEW YORK — Call it an activist field trip. New York City students will be allowed to miss school for a massive youth protest against climate change, officials announced Thursday.

Public school students can have their absences excused if they miss class to attend the Sept. 20 "Climate Strike" demanding an end to fossil fuel use and a transition to green energy, according to the Department of Education.

The teen-led protest is expected to draw a huge crowd to Foley Square joining similar rallies across the world coinciding with the United Nations General Assembly.

"Today’s leaders are making decisions for our environment that our kids will have to live with," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday on Twitter. "New York City stands with our young people. They’re our conscience. We support the 9/20 #ClimateStrike."

All protesting students will have to get permission from their parents to have their absences excused, the DOE said. Elementary school kids will only be able to leave school with a parent, officials said.

The Education Department will give schools, parents and students guidance about how kids can participate in the rally, officials said. The DOE said it will also "encourage class discussions about the impact of climate change."

The city also supported students who participated in nationwide school walkouts protesting gun violence in March of last year. Those who protested were not marked absent as long as they went straight back to class after the brief rallies.

But the DOE did not offer the same amnesty for a daylong student walkout the following month, saying kids who participated would be marked absent under normal attendance policies.

The New York City climate strike is backed by more than 100 environmental and political activist groups and other institutions, including New York Communities for Change, The New School and the Sierra Club.

The protesters' demands include a "Green New Deal" that would end fossil fuel extraction and move the nation onto entirely renewable energy sources by 2030. Green New Deal policies have been backed by the likes of U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

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