Former Mayor Gary Bagnall has offered a free lunch at his cafe for students who walk out of school to protest for more action on climate change. Picture Glenn Hampson
Former Mayor Gary Bagnall has offered a free lunch at his cafe for students who walk out of school to protest for more action on climate change. Picture Glenn Hampson

Former Tweed Mayor backflips on climate change protest

A FORMER Tweed mayor has removed all flyers and social media posts urging students to leave school to protest for action on climate change.

Murwillumbah business owner Gary Bagnall was offering the children a free lunch at his New Leaf Cafe if they joined the Big School Strike Day planned for next Friday. It included an address by current Tweed Mayor Katie Milne.

Former Tweed Mayor Gary Bagnall will provide lunch for Murwillumbah students who enter into the School Strike for Climate Action on November 30.
Former Tweed Mayor Gary Bagnall will provide lunch for Murwillumbah students who enter into the School Strike for Climate Action on November 30.

"The strikers will be doing a lap around the town with banners and signs and finish at Tweed Council buildings, where the Mayor (Katie Milne) will give an address," the social media posts read. "Students can return to school after lunch."

However, facing a backlash from the community, all the material has been removed from the social media pages.

when contacted at his cafe yesterday, Mr Bagnall declined to come to the phone, instead telling an employee to tell the Bulletin it was not "this Gary Bagnall".

Tweed councillor Warren Polglase said it was irresponsible of Mr Bagnall to call on the students to walk out on school.

Former Tweed Mayor Gary Bagnall will provide lunch for Murwillumbah students who enter into the School Strike for Climate Action on November 30.
Former Tweed Mayor Gary Bagnall will provide lunch for Murwillumbah students who enter into the School Strike for Climate Action on November 30.

"If he wants to demonstrate against climate change that is his right but he has a responsibility to the children first and would have to ask the parents before they can do that," he said.

"I don't think too many parents would want their kids walking down the main street of Murwillumbah when they should be at school."

A NSW Department of Education spokesman said schools were neutral places for rational discourse and objective study.

"While the NSW Department of Education understands some students are passionate about this topic, all students who are enrolled at school are expected to attend that school whenever instruction is provided," the spokesman said.

In NSW, students can be absent from school if they are sick, have an unavoidable medical appointment, required to attend a recognised religious holiday and an urgent family circumstance.

If they wish to leave during school hours they need a pass.

"Any student not in classes on a school day will be marked absent and may be subject to the school's disciplinary code," the spokesman said.

"As part of their duty of care to students, schools require parents to explain all absences."