East Dunbartonshire the only council to penalise pupils in climate march for COP26

East Dunbartonshire is the only local authority in the wider Glasgow region to penalise pupils who missed school to join the youth climate march on Friday.

Some young marchers at last Friday's youth climate march during COP26

Glasgow City Council and other neighbouring local authorities said schoolchildren would not be punished for taking part in the Fridays for Future Scotland rally led by Greta Thunberg.

Instead, they urged parents to let schools know if a pupil would be off for safety check purposes.

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Only East Dunbartonshire told pupils they would be marked as having unauthorised absence if they did not attend school on the day of the march.

However, many local young people defied the warning and parents and residents hit out at the council for what one described as its “unbelievable stance”.

Another said: "Appalling. Learning about exercising their democratic rights is part of their education."

While one added: "There's even stuff on the council's own website about getting involved in campaigning and engaging elected representatives."

In response, the council’s Depute Chief Executive Ann Davie told the Herald: "Many school and authority activities have already taken place to coincide with COP26 or are planned to support the issues surrounding sustainability. We understand pupils' passions around this topic and their desire to be involved.

"The Council's long-established absence management policy, in relation to attendance at non-school events during the school day, has pupil welfare and safety at its heart."

Fridays for Future Scotland is a group founded by youngsters inspired by the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Greta joined the thousands of young people - including many striking school pupils - who marched from Kelvingrove Park to George Square.

She then told a mass rally in Glasgow that the COP26 climate summit has been a "failure".

Addressing the crowd when it arrived in George Square, she said "immediate and drastic" cuts to emissions are needed.

The youth march was one of the largest of a series of demonstrations taking place in the city throughout the summit.

The UK government said pupils missing school to attend the demonstration was "extremely disruptive at a time when the pandemic has had a huge impact on their learning".