d. Have you or any other members
of your community contributed in any way to the construction and perpetuation
of the existing climate (e.g., by acting or not acting in certain
ways, by ignoring abuses or not reporting incidents)?
e. Were those completing the questionnaire
representative of the population of the school? Would you expect different
results from a different group of people? In what ways might another
group's responses differ and why? Should these differences be of any
concern to you and to the school community? When determining which
human rights concerns need to be addressed and how to address them,
how can you be certain to take into account the perspectives and experiences
of different people?
f. What needs to be done to improve
the human rights climate in your school? What action(s) can you and
your group take to create a more humane and just environment where
human rights values are promoted and human rights behaviors practiced?
4. Review questionnaire item #25,
stressing the importance of assuming responsibility and acting. Then,
as a group brainstorm possible actions the group might take to improve
the human rights situation? Decide on a short list of options for
action. Thoroughly debate and discuss the short list before deciding
on actions to be taken.
5. Based on the group discussion,
choose items for action and develop an action plan, identifying goals,
strategies and responsibilities.
ACTIVITY 7: HANDOUT 2
TAKING THE HUMAN RIGHTS
TEMPERATURE OF YOUR School
The questions below are adapted
from the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
The relevant UDHR Articles are included parenthetically in each statement.
Some of these issues correlate more directly to the UDHR than others.
All of these questions are related to the fundamental human right
to education found in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration. It
Everyone has the right to education...
Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality
and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental
When discrimination is mentioned
in the questionnaire below, it refers to a wide range of conditions:
race, ethnicity/culture, sex, physical/intellectual capacities, friendship
associations, age, culture, disability, social class/financial status,
physical appearance, sexual orientation, life style choices, nationality,
and living space. Although this is a much more expansive list than
that found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is more
helpful in assessing the human rights temperature in your school community.
The results should provide a general
sense of the school's climate in light of principles found in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Obviously more questions are
needed and follow-up questioning during the discussion will enrich
the assessment. These questions can help to identify specific areas
of concern that need to be addressed.
Source: Adapted from David Shiman,
Teaching Human Rights (Denver: Center for Teaching International
Relations, University of Denver, 1999). Written with Kristi Rudelius-Palmer.
Take the human rights temperature
of your school. Read each statement and assess how accurately it describes
your school community in the blank next to it. (Keep in mind all members
of your school: participants, teachers, administrators, staff.) At
the end, total up your score to determine your overall assessment
score for your school.
1 2 3 4 DN
____ 1. My school is a place where participants are
safe and secure. (Art. 3 & 5)
____ 2. All participants receive equal information
and encouragement about academic and career opportunities. (Art. 2)
____ 3. Members of the school community are not discriminated
against because of their life style choices, such as manner of dress,
association with certain people, and non-school activities. (Arts.
2 & 16)
____ 4. My school provides equal access, resources,
activities, and scheduling accommodations for all individuals. (Arts.
2 & 7)
____ 5. Members of my school community will oppose
discriminatory or demeaning actions, materials, or slurs in the school.
(Arts. 2, 3, 7, 28, & 29)
____ 6. When someone demeans or violates the rights
of another person, the violator is helped to learn how to change his/her
behavior. (Art. 26)
____ 7. Members of my school community care about my
full human as well as academic development and try to help me when
I am in need. (Arts. 3, 22, 26 & 29)
____ 8. When conflicts arise, we try to resolve them
through non-violent ways. (Arts. 3, 28)
____ 9. Institutional policies and procedures are implemented
when complaints of harassment or discrimination are submitted. (Arts.
3 & 7)
____ 10. In matters related to discipline (including
suspension and expulsion), all persons are assured of fair, impartial
treatment in the determination of guilt and assignment of punishment.
(Arts. 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10)
____ 11. No one in our school is subjected to degrading
treatment or punishment. (Art. 5)
____ 12. Someone accused of wrong doing is presumed
innocent until proven guilty. (Art. 11)
____ 13. My personal space and possessions are respected.
(Arts. 12 & 17)
____ 14. My school community welcomes participants,
teachers, administrators, and staff from diverse backgrounds and cultures,
including people not born in the USA. (Arts. 2, 6,13, 14 & 15)
____ 15. I have the liberty to express my beliefs and
ideas (political, religious, cultural, or other) without fear of discrimination.
____ 16. Members of my school can produce and disseminate
publications without fear of censorship or punishment. (Art. 19)
____ 17. Diverse voices and perspectives (e.g., gender,
race/ethnicity, ideological) are represented in courses, textbooks,
assemblies, libraries, and classroom instruction. (Arts. 2, 19, &
____ 18. I have the opportunity to express my culture
through music, art, and literary form. (Art. 19, 27 & 28)
____ 19. Members of my school have the opportunity
to participate (individually and through associations) in democratic
decision making processes to develop school policies and rules. (Arts.
20, 21, & 23)
____ 20. Members of my school have the right to form
associations within the school to advocate for their rights or the
rights of others. (Arts. 19, 20, & 23)
____ 21. Members of my school encourage each other
to learn about societal and global problems related to justice, ecology,
poverty, and peace. (Preamble & Arts. 26 & 29)
____ 22. Members of my school encourage each other
to organize and take action to address societal and global problems
related to justice, ecology, poverty, and peace. (Preamble & Arts.
20 & 29)
____ 23. Members of my school community are able to
take adequate rest/recess time during the school day and work reasonable
hours under fair work conditions. (Arts. 23 & 24)
____ 24. Employees in my school are paid enough to
have a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being (including
housing, food, necessary social services and security from unemployment,
sickness and old age) of themselves and their families. (Arts. 22
____ 25. I take responsibility in my school to ensure
other individuals do not discriminate and that they behave in ways
that promote the safety and well being of my school community. (Arts.
1 & 29)
TEMPERATURE POSSIBLE = 100 HUMAN RIGHTS DEGREES
YOUR SCHOOL'S TEMPERATURE_______________
LUTHER KING JR.: FROM
CIVIL RIGHTS TO HUMAN RIGHTS