What are our children’s rights and responsibilities? We all want our children to be responsible at home and at school. And children certainly feel that they have rights. What is often overlooked, though, is how intertwined rights and responsibilities are. In fact, you can’t have one without the other. That’s why it’s important for young people to understand that their rights are often accompanied by responsibilities, and they need to know what each is specifically.
Here is a list created several years ago by 14-16 year old students and their teacher of Cowichan Valley Alternative School in Duncan, British Columbia, Canada. It accurately shows the rights and subsequent responsibilities each young person has.
Children’s Rights and Responsibilities List
- I have a RIGHT to learn in this school.
It is my RESPONSIBILITY to listen to instructions, work quietly, and quietly ask for help if I have a problem.
- I have a RIGHT to hear and be heard.
It is my RESPONSIBILITY not to talk, shout, or make loud noises when others are speaking.
- I have a RIGHT to be respected in this school.
It is my RESPONSIBILITY not to tease or bug other people or to hurt their feelings by what I might say or do.
- I have a RIGHT to be safe in this school.
It is my RESPONSIBILITY not to speak unkindly to or about anyone else or to threaten, kick, punch, or physically harm anyone else.
- I have a RIGHT to privacy and my own personal space.
It is my RESPONSIBILITY to respect the personal space and property of others and to accept their right to privacy.
Without responsibility, there can be no rights … and vice versa. Therefore, if we want to raise responsible youth, we must make sure they realize their rights as well as their responsibilities and how each affects the other.
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