A whole lot of folk have worked themselves up in a lather of indignation because a few thousand young people left their schools last Friday to protest about the lack of governmental action about climate change. A few of the more insightful protesters also had schools' own curriculum conservatism and inaction in view as well.
To the bureaucratic mind this protest is no different to bunking off (or whatever it's called where you live), or jetting off for a cheaper family holiday in the sun/snow/bush/whatever, and this has resulted in a righteous demand for punishment – and some amazing stupid schools have even internally suspended the students involved thus ensuring that [i] they miss even more "unmissable" lessons, and [ii] "hard-working teachers" have to work even harder. Beyond belief ...
I note that there were some schools and teachers that encouraged (and/or seemed to give permission for) students to take the day off. But this was only because they approved of the subject of the protest. When someone wants to go on, let's say a pro-Brexit or anti-immigration march, it will be a different matter. Anyway, surely no self-respecting student would want a teacher's approval to protest.
For me, criticising the lack of curriculum attention is more apt for a student that criticising the lack of climate policy, although both matter. The government clearly could do something about ensuring that the curriculum is brought up to date, but it doesn't and I have explored why I think that is elsewhere. And so could schools. I wonder how many schools faced with this Friday absenteeism will decide to give serious attention to climate (and many other) issues within their own curriculum structures. Not many, I guess. Not for the first time I find myself regretting that the NUS doesn't operate in schools. Now that would sort out complacent / unimaginative headteachers and governors.
Meanwhile, all power to the Friday protests.
I share your view and am supporting a plan for a 15 March Friday strike of secondary students in which a young member of our new local "Spaceship Earth Action - Tychy" initiative is involved. This comes in the wake if the COP24 event in Katowice and fringe events that included a 350.org presentation organised by the young student's mother. Parental as well as curriculum commitment to big picture awareness and action is obviously helpful! Also on 15 March students at an elite state school in Katowice have invited me to present the spiff "Prospects for Spaceship Earth in the Anthropocene" as part of their project "Talking About the World". I first made this presentation at the Climate Hub fringe event at COP24 - a rare chance to sound the alarm in English here in deepest Poland!