RB walks out for global warming

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RB walks out for global warming

Students participating in the walkout. Photo by Casey Jones.

Students participating in the walkout. Photo by Casey Jones.

Students participating in the walkout. Photo by Casey Jones.

Students participating in the walkout. Photo by Casey Jones.

Audrey Pekny, Story Editor

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A student-led walkout for climate change awareness took place on Friday, September 20. The protest was not sponsored by Riverside Brookfield High School and was led by senior Paul Centrocelli. 

An email from principal Dr. Hector Freytas was sent hours before the walkout indicating that all students that participate in the protest, whether they leave campus or not, will be unexcused and their absence from fifth hour will be considered a cut. For seniors, this means if they participate they will not be eligible to be excused from any final exams. 

“I care more about how we live. To me it is more important than needing to take any finals,” said senior Angela Przybylski. 

Junior Alexa Nieves participated in the protest because she believes the amount of people that do not believe in global warming is alarming and that education and awareness is essential. 

“I am really interested in this subject. People say global warming isn’t happening but it is. It is important to me and I want to change it,” Nieves said. 

Centrocelli got pulled out of his first hour class to talk about the walkout, and the administration informed him he would not get in trouble for planning the walkout. He was also told the participating students would be allowed to walk onto the football field in order to keep them on campus. 

“This is what we’ve done in the past,” said assistant principal Dave Mannon. “It’s a safe venue. Something like this, it’s last minute and it’s not organized, it draws a lot of concern from us because there’s a lot of logistical things that need to take place. In the future, we’d love to talk to students ahead of time so we can plan for this.”

In the end, around 30 kids walked out during the scheduled time. Centrocelli admitted this was less than he had hoped for and although he is discouraged he wants to continue with his efforts and plans to create something bigger. 

“I wish more people came out to support the cause and not just because they wanted to ditch. I also wish the school wasn’t intimidating and scaring people into not walking out,” Centrocelli said. “But it’s not over and I’m not done. Next time I’m going to plan it better and hopefully the outcome will be better.” 

There was a police presence to ensure the safety of the students that were staying on campus. Since the walkout was last minute administration was unsure of the amount of students that would be on the field and wanted to take every precaution possible. The police that were there did not stop students from leaving campus. 

“Both police departments were alerted,” Mannon said. “There was some mention of kids going downtown on the trains,” said Freytas. “We needed to ensure the safety of all of our students.”

Moving forward Freytas hopes students will communicate with him and plan events like this further in advance in order to ensure safety of students. 

“I was disappointed. Administration and I were not included in the plans at all. Something like this needs to be planned four to six weeks in advance at least in order for us to help. If this was planned properly it is fair to say I would have excused absences,” said Freytas.

 

Contributions from: Staff reporter Jacob Rogoz and Story Editors Sarah Strubbe, Liam Mathews, Casey Jones, and Audrey Pekny