Students strike to march for change

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Denmark students Jetta England-Wong (14), Luka Milbourne (14), Dexter Anderson (15), Laleuca Banister-Jones(12) and Holly O’Brien (14) will march together to demand climate change action this Friday.
Camera IconDenmark students Jetta England-Wong (14), Luka Milbourne (14), Dexter Anderson (15), Laleuca Banister-Jones(12) and Holly O’Brien (14) will march together to demand climate change action this Friday. Credit: Supplied

Denmark students will march together to demand climate change action this Friday, in defiance of their school principal and local politicians.

Students from Denmark Senior High School will march to the Shire of Denmark office during their lunch break to call for action from their local government.

Laleuca Banister-Jones, 12, who will be joining the march, has invited Warren-Blackwood MLA Terry Redman and O’Connor MP Rick Wilson to join their strike.

“It’s pretty clear that the Government isn’t doing enough to help stop climate change and our only real option is to do something to let them know that we’re not impressed,” she said.

But the student strike has been criticised by DSHS principal Trevor Henderson, who sent a clear message to all parents and caregivers about the school’s stance.

“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.

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

“I encourage young people to take an interest in the world around them and to voice their opinions, however I do not agree with students striking,” he said in a letter to one of the students.

“I believe there are many other legitimate ways to have a say and be heard.”

Mr Wilson, a Liberal MP, said although he could not attend the strike due to prior commitments, he was pleased to see young people taking an interest in causes they cared about.

Laleuca’s mother, Jess Beckerling said she was not surprised to hear about displeasure from the school.

“I was disappointed to see his response but at the same time I wasn’t that surprised that he took that position,” she said.

“I think the kids are doing something quite powerful ... and they’re insisting on making changes to the current system.

Ms Beckerling said at first she was not sure if she should let her daughter be involved.

“Initially, I was quite anxious for the kids to get involved in something that can be quite heart-breaking for them,” she said.

“But the kids were so clear and well informed already, so it’s been really empowering for them to speak together and be a part of something they are proud of.”

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