Thousands of New York students will pour into the streets Friday to join a global, youth-led climate strike, alongside peers in cities across the country and world.
In New York, young protesters plan to gather in Foley Square at noon and wind their way down to Battery Park, where speakers including 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg will address the crowds and demand more aggressive action to combat rising temperatures.
The global protests, which come just days before the United Nations is set to gather for its Climate Summit, promise to be among the largest climate mobilizations yet.
Protests were already gaining steam early Friday morning, as 100,000 people took to the streets in Melbourne, Australia — the city’s largest ever climate protest.
In New York, students have been allowed to skip school with the blessing of Mayor de Blasio, who said in a tweet, “we have ten years to save the planet. New York stands with our young people, they’re our conscience.”
According to The New York Times, 1,000 students from Beacon High School in Hell’s Kitchen plan to attend the march — almost two-thirds of the student body.
But while students will get a free pass, the city announced earlier this week that teachers won’t be allowed to participate in the march with their students because it would constitute a political activity.
Disappointed teachers said they’d been planning for months to attend with younger students as chaperones and now many of those students won’t be able to participate. Younger students also have permission to skip school but need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to leave class.
Other large school districts across the country have taken a scattershot approach to school absences. Chicago followed New York’s lead, while Los Angeles will excuse absences only if students return to school. Miami-Dade County won’t consider the strike an excused absence.