Participants evaluate their school's human rights climate using criteria
derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The subsequent
discussion builds towards identifying areas of particular concern and
developing an action plan to begin addressing them.
Participants evaluate their school's human rights climate using criteria derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The subsequent discussion builds towards identifying areas of particular concern and developing an action plan to begin addressing them.
Age Level: Middle school to adult
Time: 1-2 hours
Subject Areas: Social studies
Ask students to evaluate their school's human rights climate, i.e. "take its temperature," by completing Handout 1: Taking the Human Rights Temperature of Your School. Prior to completing the survey, students might conduct research into school conditions, using the topics in the survey as a guide. Each student in the class should complete the survey individually. Although students are asked to think about their school's entire human rights climate, they should especially think about the school's climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students as well as straight allies and other students--gay and straight dealing with homophobia.
Collect the surveys and compute the average response to each question. Post the responses on a chalkboard or newsprint version of the survey.
Discuss the findings from the survey:
Draw on the following questions to move from analysis and evaluation to the development of an action plan:
Looking for patterns
Looking for explanations
Looking at yourself
Looking at others
Review survey item #25, stressing the importance of assuming responsibility and action. Then, as a group brainstorm possible actions that individuals and groups might take to improve the human rights situation. See Activity 1, Part 5, p. 13, “ Interrupting human rights violations in school” for one way to structure this part of the activity. The class should try to develop a short list of options for action. For each action, students should identify goals, strategies, and responsibilities.