SHS Students Strike For The Climate


Ethan Karp

Audrey Ryan ’24 introducing a speaker during the protest at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

Ethan Karp

On March 3rd, 2023, five Scarsdale High School students participated in the Fridays for Future Climate Strike in New York City. The protest encouraged over 5000 students to miss their classes to raise awareness of the ever-worsening climate crisis. The protestors marched from Foley Square, across the Brooklyn Bridge, towards Borough Hall to raise two demands; the passage of the Climate, Justice, and Jobs Package in the New York State Legislature and the demanding the United States to vote yes on a United Nations advisory opinion request for climate justice from the International Court of Justice. “When you go to the strike, you’re seeing people who have spoken at the UN and that there’s Vogue and there’s [The New York] Times Magazine,” said Audrey Ryan ’24. Ryan, one of the organizers of this strike, had been convincing Scarsdale High School students to join her. “It’s really scary to miss school when you’re a Scarsdale kid. But in the long term of things, one absence is not gonna do very much,” Ryan expressed. 

One of the students Ryan convinced was Ian Zhou ’24, who was willing to make the choice. “It’s totally worth it because if everyone cares more about life as usual than about taking real action on the climate crisis, nothing will get done,” said Zhou. At Scarsdale High School, some feel that there is a sentiment of not caring about the climate crisis as much as it should be. “The other day I wanted to go grab an apple from the cafeteria and it was wrapped in plastic wrap. That is not necessary,” said Ryan. The students who joined the March 3rd protest received an unexcused absence for their participation. 

Next September, a similar strike will occur again, and the school government is considering proposing a change in the policy to the administration. “So in school government right now we’re talking about making social justice absences legal,” said Natasha Pereira ’24. This change, if adopted, might encourage more students to participate without compromising their attendance record.  “Change has never come about from people politely and passively asking for things to be done. People have had to fight long and hard to get to where we’re at today, and the only way forward from here is to continue to protest and make our voices and demands heard so that things will change,” Zhou expressed.