These Anchorage students skipped school to attend a climate protest. Here’s why, in their own words.

Participants in the Sept. 20 Climate Strike hold signs and listen to speeches at Cuddy Park in midtown Anchorage.
Participants in the Sept. 20, 2019, Climate Strike hold signs and listen to speeches at Cuddy Park in midtown Anchorage. (Photo by Elizabeth Harball/Alaska’s Energy Desk)

Millions of people around the world joined a protest on Friday to demand action on climate change. Many of the young people who participated were inspired Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old from Sweden who became famous for skipping school to sit outside her country’s parliament to demand action on climate change.

Despite pouring rain, about 300 people of all ages gathered at a park in midtown Anchorage to take part in the global protest. It was organized by Alaska Youth for Environmental Action and its umbrella group, The Alaska Center. Many of the protesters and organizers were students who, like Thunberg, were missing school.

Alaska Public Media reporter Elizabeth Harball asked some of them why they attended the Climate Strike instead of going to class. Here’s what they said.

Some U.S. school districts excused student absences if they were participating in the Climate Strike. The Anchorage School District did not.

“We cannot assume that all absent students are at the strike,” a spokesperson for the school district said in an email, adding that parents and guardians are the only ones who can excuse a student’s absence.

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