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Collaboration Work..........Read More>>

Many Grand Rapids High School ninth and eleventh grade students of Ms. Sperling, Mrs.Carlson, and Mr. Christy enjoyed guest speaker presentations about the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights during the last few months. Ten classes received presentations about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN UDHR) for Human Rights Awareness Day. Public school curriculum includes learning about government and civics. Advanced geography classes and international baccalaureate world history classes also include study of human rights. The presentations comprised a collaborative activity between Independent School District 318 and the Grand Rapids Human Rights Commission.

The human rights presentations were made possible by time volunteered by commissioners from the City of Grand Rapids Human Rights Commission. Students in each class were introduced to and discussed the UDHR, which was originally adopted seventy four years ago on December 10, 1948 by the UN General Assembly. The declaration was adopted just a few years following the conclusion of World War II. The subject is part of the Minnesota state education standards.

Following speaker introductions and an introduction to the Human Rights Commission and its mission, students formed small groups to actively identify words and concepts from their own understanding of human rights. The students were then guided through a discussion of the UN UDHR by the commissioners. Teachers also present and available to aid, question, or explain as needed. The activity was supplemented by several hand-outs, including a one page summary of the history of the UDHR and a copy of the preamble to the UDHR which students took turns reading aloud. Many students were able to relate this information to their learning about the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution, which are also part of the school curriculum. United States and Minnesota laws about human rights were also mentioned. Each class presentation concluded with questions and discussion.

Human Rights Commission