Hinkler MP urges students to stay at school on Friday

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Schools should be educating and nurturing students to be academics, not activists, according to Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt.

Mr Pitt is urging local students to stay at school on Friday to learn and not desert the classroom to attend climate change protests.

“Schools need to concentrate on what they excel at and that is teaching students not politicising them, I want our students to know how to think not what to think,” Mr Pitt said.

His call comes after media reports of students at universities in Sydney complaining about being pressured by academic staff to attend the Global Strike on Friday and being told they wouldn’t be penalised for missing class.

“We are fortunate to live in a country where we have the right to express our views through peaceful public protest,” he said.

“But students should not feel pressured to take part in a protest, and schools should not be encouraging students to make political statements when they should be in class.

“I respect the right to protest but students should be at school learning on Friday.

“What they choose to do outside of school hours or on weekends is a decision for them and their parents.”

Mr Pitt said local constituents have expressed their frustration at schools promoting these types of events, or giving students the impression that they won’t be in trouble if they attend a protest.

“Parents have told me they don’t agree with political issues being raised with their children at school in this manner.

“Students should have a voice but that voice should be informed, with both sides of an issue having an opportunity to present information. That doesn’t appear to be the case at the moment, with only one side pushing its agenda.

“If schools promote this climate change protest at assembly, in newsletters or on posters displayed at school, they should also be allowing the other side of this debate to put forward their views.”

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