Students go Green by Lobbying Principal to Ban Plastic Straws

In the Media: Independent Schools Victoria The Parents Website, 7 June 2019

You are never too young to care about the world around you – or to speak up for what you believe in.

Primary school students at Strathcona Baptist Girls Grammar School have proved the point, initiating a discussion that has led to the banning of plastic straws in the school’s canteen.

Seven-year-old Year 2 student, Zoë, with the support of Year 6 ‘Green Team’ leaders Sienna, Mia, Rajaani and Charlotte (pictured above), recently penned a letter to the school’s Principal, Marise McConaghy, asking that removing plastic straws from the school canteen be considered.

The girls wrote: We are Year 6 students from the Green Team. A Year 2 student named Zoë has noticed that plastic straws have been damaging our ocean. And Zoë has also noticed that plastic straws are in our canteen. We were wondering if we could possibly get rid of them. We hope you understand our concern for the environment.

Principal McConaghy responded to the girls: I am so pleased that you have identified this problem as I have been meaning to address it for some time; what great leaders you are! I too am very concerned about managing the issue of plastic in the school and I am pleased to start by banning plastic straws.

After a collaborative meeting, the unanimous decision was made to ban plastic straws at Strathcona’s canteen in an effort to introduce more environmentally-friendly practices at the school.

The Parents' Website | Students from Strathcona ban plastic straws

It was a War on Waste documentary and learning about the Straw No More project, in which single use plastic straws are being banned from school canteens across the US, that inspired young Zoë to speak to her teachers to make a difference. Straw No More was founded by 11-year-old Molly after she watched a documentary that featured the damaging impacts that straws have on our environment.

Teachers at Strathcona were excited to see their students taking action, along with demonstrating determination and initiative. Encouraging girls and young women to stand up for what they believe in is part of the school’s ethos.

Ms McConaghy said she was pleased the students had the courage to voice their ideas and concerns. ‘We admire witnessing them advocating for topics they are passionate about, and their leadership around banning plastic straws from our canteen is an example that will inspire other students to speak up for what they believe in too.’


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