New South Wales Education Minister says students will be punished over school day climate strikes

Photo: Macquarie Matters

An Education Minister in Australia has warned students not to strike against climate change on a school day.

Student climate change strikes have taken place across the globe, led by vegan activist Greta Thunberg.

But New South Wales Education Minister Rob Stokes has warned students and teachers will be punished if they rally on 15 March which is a Friday.

Speaking with Sky News he said:

"These are on school days, school children on school days should be at school. You simply can’t strike if you don’t have a job and these are school students, they are not in the workforce and the law is very clear, this is a notified school day, kids should be at school.
"In relations to the schools we operate, we have very clear protocols in regards to truancy and principals have been advised that we expect appropriate action to be undertaken.
"Obviously we have non-government schools that I don’t control as directly, but my clear message to those school communities is that billions of dollars of tax payer money go into our education system every year, those taxpayers have the right to expect that the money is going to a good purpose and that is to educate our young people."

Sky News presenter Chris Kenny asked Mr Stokes if their would be repercussions for teachers who take part of encourage students to take part in the strikes.

He said:

"Teachers are required to be at work, they are paid for the incredible work they do across New South Wales and across Australia, and if they don’t turn up to work well the same sanctions would apply to anyone that doesn’t turn up for work without a reasonable excuse.
"We’ve got great teachers across New South Wales and they take their jobs very seriously and of course we want to encourage young people to find their voice and be engaged in political processes, but do it on your own time, don’t do it on days when you are required to be at school."

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