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Broward Student Suspended For Handing Out Climate Change Flyers

youth climate strike
Courtesy of Elijah Ruby
South Broward High School senior Elijah Ruby received a suspension for handing out flyers to advertise the Global Climate Strike in his area. An assistant principal told him he could no longer attend prom or any other special senior events.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 5:00 p.m. with comments from Broward County Public Schools, including the district's policy for students missing class to participate in protests.

South Broward High School senior Elijah Ruby had been handing out flyers advertising a climate change protest when a school administrator told him he would be suspended from campus for a day and barred from attending prom and other special class events.

"I feel disappointed because those are the sort of things you remember for a long time," said Ruby, 17. "You remember going with your girlfriend to prom."

The Broward County School District told WLRN in an email that while a student had been disciplined for handing out flyers that implied the walkout was District-sanctioned, "the student's prom and other senior activities have not been affected."

The flyers contained information about the upcoming Global Youth Climate Strike in Broward County on Sept. 20, part of a worldwide series of student strikes that day. The Broward protest will occur in front of the Broward County School Board building in Fort Lauderdale.

School district spokeswoman Nadine Drew said the District "supports student voice and activism, including the important discussion about climate change." However, students leaving campus without permission for a protest will receive an unexcused absence and disciplinary consequences as outlined in the school's handbook, just as they would for other unexcused absences. 

Drew said a student handed out flyers that misrepresented the climate change walkout as a District-sanctioned event, and that they continued to distribute that flyer even after the school administration asked that they remove that information before handing out any more. 

"Had the student reprinted and distributed the flyers without the misleading impression that the District was organizing the strike, the administration would not have taken disciplinary action," she said in the email. 

Read More At Our News Partner, The Miami Herald