Public backlash as students hold strike

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser
Denmark senior high school students marched for climate change actions last Friday.
Camera IconDenmark senior high school students marched for climate change actions last Friday. Credit: Saskia Adysti

Hundreds of Denmark students gathered outside the Shire office last Friday to call for immediate action on climate change, despite plenty of backlash from the general public.

Denmark Senior High School student Dexter Anderson, 15, spoke on behalf of his classmates during the strike, demanding emergency climate action from local councils.

Dexter said he joined the global student strike movement of his own accord, despite critics accusing the students of having been brainwashed.

“I think striking is such a powerful tool and it just shows that the students are so passionate about our climate and that we are willing to sacrifice our time to strike for it,” he said.

“I think this is a great opportunity for students at Denmark Senior High School to make our voices heard and let the Government know that we care about our climate and our future.”

Dexter said students had gained 250 signatures on their petition, but they were not able to convince Shire president Ceinwen Gearon to declare a climate emergency.

Albany student Lauren Ridgwell, who drove 56km to attend the rally in Denmark, said she was disappointed to see no similar strikes were held in Albany.

“Our school weren’t even supportive of us going and attend the rally in the first place,” she said.

“But I was able to get my parents’ permission to leave school and attend the rally with the Denmark students.”

The student strike was also criticised by DSHS principal Trevor Henderson, who sent a clear message to all parents and caregivers about the school’s disapproval.

“DSHS does not endorse the proposed strike, nor is it engaged with the organisation of the strike, including the supervision and duty of care for students who do attend the strike,” his letter said.

The students also invited Warren-Blackwood MLA Terry Redman and O’Connor MP Rick Wilson to join their strike, but the local MPs were not able to attend the rally.

Mr Redman said although he had genuine concern about climate change, he did not support marching during school hours.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails