Montreal students block schools ahead of climate protest

At least six high schools cancelled classes this morning as Montreal students formed human chains around the buildings. Some school boards have said students wishing to join the global climate strike will need explicit permission from their parents.

Canadian students join global strikes for better climate policies March 15

Around 200 students blocked access to Joseph-François-Perrault high school this morning. (Mélanie Meloche-Holubowski/Radio-Canada)

Montreal students participating in the global climate strike Friday formed human chains around some schools, disrupting morning classes.

The Commission Scolaire de Montréal (CDSM), the province's largest school board, said all classes at six high schools were cancelled for the morning.

Student strikes for stronger climate commitments have been gaining momentum in recent months and March 15 is expected to be the largest yet. Tens of thousands of students in more than 100 countries are expected to participate.

"I think it's something every citizen needs to do," student Tasha Oest O'Leary said.

More than 110,000 Quebec university students voted to strike Friday afternoon. Some high schools also voted to strike.

FACE student Tasha Oest O'Leary thinks it's everyone's responsibility to take action on climate change.

Students at École Joseph-François Perreault, a high school in the Saint-Michel neighbourhood, blocked access to the school this morning. More than 700 students voted to strike on Tuesday.

The CDSM said classes were cancelled at Joseph-François-Perrault as well as Académie De Roberval, Georges-Vanier, Sophie-Barat, Père-Marquette and Robert-Gravel high schools.

Alain Perron, a spokesperson for the school board, said they planned to reopen classes this afternoon.

Students demonstrate at Robert Gravel high school in the Mile End neighbourhood on Friday morning. (Mélissa François/Radio-Canada)

Both the English Montreal School Board and the French Commission scolaire de Montréal have sent letters to parents saying students need parental permission if they want to go to the demonstrations.

"We need parental consent, and if that's not there, it will be counted as absenteeism," said EMSB spokesperson Mike Cohen.

Not all schools in Montreal, however, require parental approval for a student to attend the strike.

Despite being a part of the EMSB, the bilingual arts school FACE is letting its students join the protest if they want to.

"If we don't do something right now, we're not going to have a future, we need to go to those protests and stand up for our future," said FACE student Azure Dumas-Pilon.

The protest begins at the George-Étienne Cartier Monument in Mount Royal Park Friday afternoon.

With files from CBC's Valeria Cori-Manocchio


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