LETTER: Students were exercising their rights

They were appropriately taking action to call on our elected leaders to protect our environment

I have been thinking about the recent comments made by Tom Fletcher in the column “Hijacking of our education system gathers speed” and, as a person who has great respect for youth who are choosing not to be apathetic toward our climate crisis issue, I am bothered by the tone of this column.

I want to remind Tom that the students he so condescendingly speaks of, the ones he points at as basically using this climate issue as a means of getting out of school on a Friday afternoon, alongside educators who push a personal agenda in order to “yell at elected leaders to do what you want them to do” are simply exercising their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to peaceful assembly and protest.

But even beyond that, they are appropriately taking action to call on our elected leaders to protect our environment and resources and to make this issue a priority. Thankfully some people do care enough to take the time to speak out.

I had the privilege of being invited to attend an eco group within one of the secondary schools in B.C., and I was so impressed by the careful planning and consideration that these students took to participate in this worldwide movement.

I am relieved that there are young people who are willing to continue to care enough to hold leaders accountable. This action was not a “hijacking of our education system” but rather a promising and positive example of how democracy is alive and well in our society, and that we have intelligent and motivated youth who are willing to be action-minded citizens.

Beth Maenpaa, Mission

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