Cross the line! I was visiting a grade eight class last week as part of my job as an university education faculty supervisor. The teacher was leading a lesson on human rights. She laid a rope along the middle of the classroom and asked all the kids to stand along one wall. Then she read a number of statements.
“Have you ever been insulted because of your skin color?” “Has anyone ever judged you because of your religious beliefs?” “ Have you ever been teased because of your appearance?” “Have you ever been made to feel unwelcome or afraid by a group of your peers? ” As she read each statement the kids who had experienced those things stepped over the rope. It wasn’t long before everyone had ‘crossed the line.’ They had all experienced some kind of discrimination or a violation of their human rights.
Then she began again. “Have you laughed at a racist or sexist joke?” “Have you ever excluded someone from your group of friends?” “Have you ever been a specatator at a fight?” “Have you ever stood by while someone was being treated unfairly?” It wasn’t long before everyone again had ‘crossed the line.’ All the students had violated the human rights of someone else.
The kids were really honest. I wonder if adults always are? Would we admit we have been both the violators of human rights and human rights victims?