HARLOW College has given its students the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights and join with millions of protestors around the world taking part in the Global Climate Strike.
Around the country, some school students are rumoured to have been threatened with truancy reports but at Harlow College assistant principal Sallyann Abdelmoula is determined to give pupils a voice. She explained: “We need to allow students the democratic right to express their opinions; we want to empower young people and let them know their voice is being heard.”
A-level student Reece Sykes commented: “I wanted to go to the protests in London but my parents said I couldn’t leave school to go. So I’m pretty happy the college organised this.”
The plan for the protest was simple. Students gathered together with signs they had made in class protesting climate change and joined hands to encircle the sixth form block. Unfortunately, smaller than expected numbers meant that the encirclement wasn’t quite possible without dislocating a few arms! In regards to the small turnout, Ms Abdelmoula thanked all those who took part and added: “Things always start with a small action which is needed to build a greater momentum.”
And she would not be wrong there. The entire Global Climate Strike would never have been made possible if not for the actions of a single girl. Swedish 16-year old Greta Thunberg has become quite the environmental poster child, evoking huge support among young people and rallying the masses to bring attention to the issue.
“A fantastic empowering young lady, I have a huge amount of respect for her” commented Ms Abdelmoula.
Protests aren’t all the college is planning. Ms Abdelmoula said the college would attempt wherever possible to use sustainable resources and promote the use of public transport among students as well as encourage recycling in every classroom. Working hand in hand with the young people of the student voice and student union, Harlow College is joining the world in the march to a greener future.
Report by Jack Perring