“Bullying is a human rights issue and it is one of New Zealand’s biggest. Bullying in schools isn’t just “kids being kids”. If someone’s attacked they shouldn’t have to “suck it up”. And the nursery rhyme “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me” was a lie. It is the responsibility of every one of us to respect the human dignity of others. Everyone has a human right to be free from fear, feel safe and to live a life free from violence and abuse”.
The articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child provide a powerful summary of the key human rights pertaining to children and young people at school.
Every student has the right to:
- Have their best interests considered when decisions are made (article 3)
- Protection from physical, emotional and sexual harassment or abuse from peers or others while in the school environment (article 19)
- Be disciplined in ways which are positive (articles 3, 28, 37 and 40)
- Express their views, have a say in matters which affect them, present their side of a story and be treated fairly (articles 2, 12-14 and 40)
- Be free from discrimination of any sort (article 2)
- Learn and interact in a safe environment (article 3)
- Retain their own property and have it treated with respect (derived from article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
- Have their family/whänau informed and involved in matters that affect them (article 5)