Three schoolgirls have been banned from their end of year prom after going on a climate emergency march

Three schoolgirls have been banned from their end of year prom after skipping revision classes to attend a climate protest.
Ellie Kinloch, Tyler McHugh, and Isobel Deady, all 16, decided against going into school on Friday 24 May and instead took part in a Youth Strike 4 Climate march in Manchester city centre.
But when the pupils returned to Albany Academy in Chorley, Lancashire, they were informed by headteacher Peter Mayland that they wouldn’t be allowed to their finals ball on 28 June.
Ms Kinloch, Ms McHugh, and Ms Deady said they told the school of their plans before leaving and said their teachers should consider their actions an “exceptional circumstance“.

Climate protest

Instead, Mr Mayland said their playing truant represented an “unauthorised absence”, for which the  trio should be disciplined.
The schoolgirls’ parents met with the headteacher in order to try to change his mind, offering alternative punishments such as a fine, detention, or anenvironment project to help the school.
But officials at Albany Academy have refused.
Ms Kinloch’s mum, Karen Fogg, said: “They’ve done nothing wrong in five years at this school, they’ve never been in trouble once.
“You’ve got children [going to prom] with worse disciplinary records who have done far worse than skip school for something they believe in.
“We accept it as an unauthorised absence but we don’t accept the weight of the punishment.”
The 24 May protest was inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunbergand was open to students who passionately believe in combating the climate disaster.
Ms Fogg added: “The day before the protest they were told it was not authorised and that it would put everything at risk.
“But the school told this to the girls and not us as parents.

Inspired to act

“If they had told me in advance I would have made a decision, we’ve spent £500 on Ellie for the prom in dresses, tickets, transport.
“Ellie is devastated. We all are. We’ve never felt so strongly about anything like this. The others are livid with it all, everyone is pretty upset. The girls don’t drink or smoke, they are good kids. This is what they believe in and what they’re passionate about. It’s a good thing.”
The environmental campaigners were told about their ban on Monday 3 June, which was the first school day after returning from half term and the first school day back after attending the march.
Headteacher Peter Mayland said: “Albany Academy has an excellent reputation, based on the high standards we have, especially for students’ attendance, behaviour and safety.
“Our rule on attendance during exams has been in place for many years: Year 11 children need to be in school to prepare fully for their GCSEs. Where a student has unauthorised absence, we apply sanctions. We do this fairly and we always take into account the needs of individual students and their specific circumstances.
“We make our expectations to parents and students very clear, both verbally and in writing. For Year 11 students, our prom is a voluntary privilege, and one element of our celebrations of their time at Albany Academy. This privilege may be removed in the event of poor attendance or poor behaviour during the final term of Year 11.”

Mobilised youth

Ms Deady’s mum, Janine, said she feels the school is “making an example of our daughters for taking strike action”. She said her daughter feels strongly about the environment and has been inspired to act by the likes of Sir David Attenborough.
She said: “We hear so often that young people are apathetic but it’s not the case. The girls are an example of that. Isobel considered very carefully taking the day off for the strike action, it was not taken lightly at all. She considered it very carefully before making the decision because there is nothing else open to them at their age as a way of expressing themselves.
“They can’t vote and will be the generation most affected by damage to the planet. We consider it was exceptional circumstances. It comes as the government has declared a climate emergency. I was happy for her to express herself and join the youth fight.
“The punishment doesn’t fit the crime. This was her first unauthorised absence in her five years there.”
A petition has been launched on to see the decision reversed.
Three schoolgirls have been banned from their end of year prom after going on a climate emergency march Three schoolgirls have been banned from their end of year prom after going on a climate emergency march Reviewed by CUZZ BLUE on June 22, 2019 Rating: 5

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