• A message regarding the September 20 Global Climate Strike

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    Dear PPS Families,

    On Friday, Sept. 20, we expect a large number of PPS students to join other young people around the world to participate in a Global Climate Strike. Students are planning to walk out of class and march to Portland City Hall around 10:30 a.m., and then march to a Climate Justice Festival at OMSI in Southeast Portland around noon for a climate education festival, with events scheduled to end around 5 p.m.

    IMPORTANT: Consistent with Oregon law and district policies, we suggest students make arrangements with their teachers or principals for addressing any missed school assignments (including quizzes, tests). All high school and middle school students who leave school on Sept. 20 for the Global Climate Strike will be given an excused absence if they pre-arrange the absence with their teacher(s) and notify staff when they leave. We do not plan to have staff follow students who walk out on September 20. Once students leave school grounds, we cannot ensure their location or their safety. 

    Please talk with your student about this event. Once students leave our campus for unsponsored events, Portland Public Schools can no longer guarantee their safety. We ask you to please discuss your family's expectations with your student about their participation, safety, and communication with you if they choose to leave school during the day.

    PPS is not sponsoring this event, but we do recognize students’ constitutional right to freedom of expression. We also recognize that:

    • This student-led event involves learning opportunities that align with the spirit of the PPS Board of Education's approved Climate Justice Resolution #5272. 
    • Our district vision, PPS reImagined, includes a graduate portrait that describes expectations for student growth in their understanding of racial equity and climate justice issues. We believe this action by our students is a clear example of the learning and advocacy we hope for in all our students.
    • The subject matter aligns with both our district policies and core curriculum. 

    The following guide has been provided to PPS staff:

    For Middle Grades and High School Students: Consistent with Oregon law and district policies, we suggest students make arrangements with their teachers or principals for addressing any missed school assignments (including quizzes, tests). 

    Student Athletes: Additionally, student athletes who choose to participate in activities Friday must communicate with teachers prior to participating in the walkout to talk about missed work and have a parent/guardian or the student give advance notice to their school’s athletic director of their participation in the strike. If these actions are taken, student athletes will be eligible to play in games or practices that afternoon/evening.

    We are also encouraging middle and high school educators to use these tools for climate literacy education in their lessons next week to help students think critically about the science and sociology behind this important topic.

    K-5 aged and Elementary School Students: We encourage Pre-Kindergarten to fifth-grade educators to participate in developmentally appropriate “Climate Change Awareness” learning-based activities within the school Friday. This can include an array of educational activities on this important topic like: school wide assemblies, film screenings, relevant readings and lessons. 

    Parents of K-5 students are within their legal right to dismiss students from school. If families decide to participate in the Global Climate Action events at City Hall and OMSI, parents must notify their child’s teacher or school in advance that they intend to check their child out of school to participate in climate justice related activities in order to have the absence considered “excused.” Usual district protocol for after-school pick-up will apply for K-5 students, although parents can allow other arrangements.

    At all grade levels, we will do our best to support our schools, track who leaves school, and monitor the activity of student groups who choose to leave campus for the Climate Strike. Once students leave school grounds, however, we cannot ensure their location or their safety. Please reach out to your principal with any questions or concerns.

    Thank you,
    Portland Public Schools