This is an adaptation from the original version.
The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) Starting Points for Teachers
Human rights and your class or your school
An activity to put your own school under the human rights microscope
Taking the Human Rights Temperature of Your School
1. Have participants evaluate their school's human rights climate, i.e. take its "temperature", by completing the survey questionnaire below.
2. Prepare for class discussion by creating a 1-4 rating scale on a chalkboard
or large piece of paper. Then ask participants to call out responses to
3. Discuss the findings from the survey, drawing on the following questions
to move from analysis and evaluation to the development of an action plan.
4. Review questionnaire item number 12, stressing the importance of assuming
responsibility and acting accordingly. Then, as a group, think about what
the group might do to improve the human rights situation. Decide on a
short list of options for action. Thoroughly debate and discuss the short
list before taking any decision regarding action to be taken.
The questions below are written in the spirit of the European Convention on Human Rights and its protocols. (The relevant articles are included in brackets in each statement.) Some of these issues relate more directly to the ECHR than others. All of these questions are related to the fundamental human right to education found in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. It asserts:
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 freedoms.
Obviously more questions are needed and follow-up questioning during
the discussion will enrich the assessment.
____ 1. My school is a place where students are safe and secure. (Art. 2 & 3)
____ 2. Members of the school community are not discriminated against because of their life style choices, such as manner of dress, associating with certain people, and non-school activities. (Art. 14; Protocol No 12)
____ 3. My school provides equal access, resources and activities for all individuals. (Art. 14; Protocol No 12)
____ 4. Members of my school community will oppose discriminatory or demeaning actions, materials, or remarks in the school. (Art. 2, 9, Art. 14; Protocol No 12)
____ 5. When conflicts arise, we try to resolve them in non- violent and collaborative ways. (Art. 2, 3,)
____ 6. 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. (Art. 6)
____ 7. A person accused of wrongdoing is presumed innocent until proved guilty. (Art. 6 )
____ 8. My personal space and possessions are respected. (Art. 8; Art. 1, Protocol No. 1)
____ 9. My school community welcomes students, teachers, administrators, and staff from diverse backgrounds and cultures (Art. 1, 9, 10, 14; Protocol No 12)
____ 10. Members of my school have the opportunity to participate (individually and through associations) in democratic decision-making processes to develop school policies and rules. (Art. 11, Art 3 Protocol No. 1)
____ 11. Members of my school community have adequate time for rest during the school day and work reasonable hours under fair work conditions. (Art. 4)
____ 12. I take responsibility in my school for ensuring that other individuals do not discriminate and that they behave in ways that promote the safety and well-being of my school community. (Art. 1 & 29)
TOTAL TEMPERATURE POSSIBLE = 48 HUMAN RIGHTS DEGREES
YOUR SCHOOL'S TEMPERATURE _______________
Adapted from: D. Shiman & K. Rudelius-Palmer, Economic and Social Justice: A Human Rights Perspective (Minneapolis: Human Rights Resource Center, University of Minnesota, 1999)