FIFE COUNCIL should not punish young people who choose to strike from school to highlight the urgent need for climate action. 

That’s the opinion of Fife MSP Mark Ruskell, who has written to the authority’s chief executive ahead of a planned global protest tomorrow (Friday). 

An estimated 15,000 people took part in a wave of climate strikes across the UK in February, including students in Scotland who demanded urgent action by governments.

Now the Scottish Greens have written to Steve Grimmond urging the council to support – and not to punish – young people for speaking up. 

Citing Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence and its objective of young people becoming ‘responsible citizens’ and the First Minister’s Twitter call for the voices of young people to be heard, Mr Ruskell has urged the council to understand the struggle faced by young people who will grow up in a world gripped by total climate breakdown unless transformative action is taken immediately.

Mr Ruskell said: “The climate crisis – and how we all respond to it – will now unavoidably define the lives of young people at school in Scotland today. 

“Many are, completely rationally, fearful for their futures and those of young people around the world. 

“It’s clear why they feel compelled to speak out and urge stronger action from governments and corporations who have not just failed to tackle this crisis but who have caused it.

“Local councils should support young people who chose to strike for the climate – after all, they epitomise what it means to be responsible citizens. They should certainly ensure that there is no threat of any form of punishment.”

Mr Ruskell wrote that punitive action would be “inappropriate” and “pointless” when the future of our species and our planet was at stake. He added that teachers who are supporting action on the climate crisis should be supported rather than reprimanded. 

Peter McNaughton, head of education at Fife Council, said: “Our general position is that we want all children and young people to attend school on a regular basis.

"The curriculum of our schools encourages citizenship in a range of important ways. This is something we all take very seriously. Decisions about taking time out of school for specific events sit with parents and families. Parents may want to discuss related aspects of this issue with their child’s school.

“On an individual basis, we would respect decisions made by young people and, of course, their parents and carers.”