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Florida Teen Is Suspended Over Climate Change Flyer

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Among the people most worried about climate change are young people. And they're putting pressure on grown-ups to get serious and do something. We saw that Friday when millions of young people all over the world skipped school for the Global Youth Climate Strike. Elijah Ruby protested with them. He is a senior at South Broward High School in Hollywood, Fla. He says he's particularly concerned about the impact of climate change on his community.

ELIJAH RUBY: Like, they say that, in the next 20 years, the metropolitan area of downtown Miami and downtown Fort Lauderdale, due to the fact that they're near the coast, will be uninhabitable.

MARTIN: The adults running his high school, though, did not support his activism. They warned Ruby to stop distributing fliers on campus promoting the climate strike. He says when he didn't, he was confronted by his assistant principal.

RUBY: He brings me to his office and then tells me that I'll be externally suspended for defiance. He said that all seniors who were externally suspended from our school will have their senior privileges revoked - homecoming, prom.

MARTIN: And so Elijah Ruby was suspended. Now, the high school and school district dispute some of this. Broward County Public Schools released a statement to The Miami Herald that said disciplinary action was necessary in part because Ruby's fliers implied the school district was organizing the climate strike. His mom, Stacy Wolfe, is disappointed. She says school administrators should listen to the kids on this issue and others.

STACY WOLFE: They're inheriting a world that - you know? They're the ones that are going to have to live with consequences, so they should definitely have a say in what goes on.

MARTIN: Broward County Public Schools did not respond to our request for comment. But it does seem that Elijah Ruby will be able to go to the prom. His principal tweeted, quote, "no one at the school had lost their prom," end quote. "Homecoming, however, is still up in the air." Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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