- The Washington Times - Friday, September 20, 2019

A Florida high school student is speaking out after he was suspended for promoting participation in the Global Climate Strike taking place on Sept. 20.

South Broward High School senior Elijah Ruby said he was handing out flyers on campus for the local chapter of the climate-issues protest when a school official told him he would be suspended for a day and unable to attend his senior prom.

“I feel disappointed because those are the sort of things you remember for a long time,” the 17-year-old said, reported the Miami Herald. “You remember going with your girlfriend to prom.”

Elijah said that while his original flyers had been taken down at school and he had been warned to stop handing out flyers, he hadn’t been told he would face suspension.

He originally asked if the school could assist in putting a field trip together for the protest — one of many occurring Friday as part of the Global Climate Youth Strike — but school administrators told him Thursday the event could have been dangerous.

“I think that’s extremely short-sighted thinking. Because what is going to be most dangerous for kids is that we have eleven years to totally change our economy and eliminate carbon in the atmosphere or we will face devastation,” he said, referring to a study published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Elijah’s mother, Stacy Wolfe, said she supports her son’s activism, adding, “It is unfortunate that the school has to resort to a suspension for such a noble cause.”

A spokesperson for the Broward County School District said in a statement to the Herald: “Schools have processes in place regarding approvals for the distribution of materials, including flyers, on campus.”

“Students are also expected to adhere to guidance provided to them regarding the distribution of these materials. Any disciplinary measures are in accordance with the Code Book of Student Conduct,” they said, declining to comment further due to student privacy.

Another Broward County public school is having a field trip to the event, and the districts can host field trips even without providing excused absences to local events.

“Local field trips do not require approval beyond the school principal’s level,” according to a county field-trip policy document

Elijah still plans to go to the protest and believes the protest is a natural part of learning how to protect nature.

“Trying to teach about preserving the environment without the lens of social activism is kind of pointless,” Elijah said.

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