Nicola Sturgeon praises pupils on climate change strike

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Nicola Sturgeon has backed youngsters who are skipping school to take part in climate change protests, describing their actions as a “cause for optimism in an often dark world”.

The First Minister spoke out as schoolchildren in Scotland joined in the global demonstration.

UK Education Secretary Damian Hinds warned pupils they should not miss lessons to take part in the strikes.

But Ms Sturgeon took to Twitter to offer her support, saying: “It’s a cause for optimism, in an often dark world, that young people are taking a stand on climate change.”

While she said the Scottish Government was a “world leader” in acting against climate change, the urgency of the issue meant “it is right that we are all challenged to do more and that we hear the voice of the next generation”.

Teenager Holly Gillibrand from Fort William is one of those taking part in the the protest, saying it would be a “momentous day”.

She tweeted: “Young people all around the UK are uniting together in solidarity to demand that our leaders treat the climate and ecological crisis as the crisis it is.”

Scottish Green Party education spokesman Ross Greer urged education bosses to back pupils who are taking part in the protests rather than punish them.

He said: “I commend every young person in Scotland and across the world who is joining this growing movement and speaking out against this existential threat to their future.”

He stressed the Curriculum for Excellence system in Scottish schools “is based on the idea that we support our young people to become responsible citizens”.

Mr Greer added: “Every school student who takes action against the climate crisis on Friday is doing exactly that.

“They should know that they will not be punished for defending their own future.

“They have the Scottish Greens’ support and I hope they will have the support of their teachers and education authorities.”

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