Human Rights in the School

Appendix One

Definitions
Bias:

An opinion, preference or inclination formed without reasonable justification.45

Class:

The economic, social and political relationships in which people operate in a given social order. These relationships reflect the constraints and the limitations that people experience in areas of income level, type of occupation or sense of ownership and other markers of social rank.46

Cooperative learning:

Students working in mixed groups in interdependent activities toward common goals.

Culture:

The totality of ideas, beliefs, values, activities and knowledge of a group of individuals who share historical, geographical, religious, racial, linguistic, ethnic or social traditions and who transmit, reinforce and modify those traditions.47

Disability:

Any restriction or lack (resulting from an impairment) of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.48

Democracy:

Government by the people; that form of government in which the sovereign power is vested in the people as a whole, and is exercised either directly by them or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically-held free elections.

Direct Discrimination:

Discrimination which is an obvious case of unequal treatment, whether intentional or unintentional. An example would be either the intentional ignoring or the unintentional overlooking of students from a particular cultural group for favoured assignments.
(See the definition of systemic discrimination.)

Discrimination:

unequal treatment, intentional or unintentional, directed against a group as a whole or an individual because she or he is a member of or presumed to be a member of that group, rather than on the basis of his or her actual characteristics. Discrimination may be either direct or indirect. (See also the definition of systemic discrimination.)

Ethnic Group:

A community based upon the ascribed status of a diffuse ancestry that is maintained by a shared culture, language or religion; a human group bound together by similar cultural values with a prevailing loyalty and adherence to certain basic institutions such as a family pattern, religion and language.49

Equality:

Just participation in and access to the benefits of society. Achieving just participation and access may require different treatment of particular individuals or groups in order to accommodate their special needs and to overcome the effects of past discrimination. (See section 15(2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms). For example, ensuring that a student who is learning disabled receives an education comparable to that of her or his non-disabled peers may require that the school or school division not only integrate the student into a 'regular' classroom but also provide additional resources for that student. Similarly, achieving equal participation for women in a school division may require the implementation of an employment equity program designed to overcome the effects of past discrimination against women in management.

Ethnocentric:

Regarding one's own race or culture as the most important and judging other cultures as wrong or inferior simply because they do things differently.50

Euro-centric:

Employing or validating only the European or Euro-Canadian point of view.51

Family Status:

Includes the status of being a parent, not being a parent, the manner and/or possibility of becoming a parent, and any manner in which individuals present themselves as family members or are perceived to be family members.

Freedom:

Liberty of action; the state of being able to act without hindrance or restraint.52

Fundamental Freedoms:

Freedoms which are considered inherent to the concept of human dignity and affirmed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Fundamental freedoms include, but are not limited to, freedom of speech, freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of conscience and religion, security of the person, freedom of movement, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association.

Harassment:

Abusive and unwelcome conduct or comments.

Homophobia:

An irrational fear or hatred of homosexuality or homosexual persons.53

In Loco Parentis:

Acting in the place of a parent; instead of a parent.54

Justice:

Fair and equal treatment. Treatment which allows each of us to exercise all of our human rights equally.

Overt:

Openly and easily observable.55

Parent:

Mother, father, legal guardian, or other person who is in loco parentis.

Minority:

A group with a certain set of characteristics which set it apart from the dominant group in a society. The group is usually aware of itself as having a depressed status relative to the majority and may be subjected to unequal and differential treatment. This group may be a numerical majority in world terms or even community terms.56

Prejudice:

An unfavourable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought or reason.57

Race:

A socially created category to classify humankind according to common ancestry or descent, and reliant upon differentiation by general physical or cultural characteristics such as colour of skin and eyes, hair type, historical experience, and facial features.58

Racial Discrimination:

Any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference, intentional or unintentional, based on race, colour, cultural or ethnic origin that has the purpose of nullifying or impairing the equal enjoyment or exercise of human rights.59

Racism:

A set of implicit or explicit beliefs, assumptions and actions based upon an ideology of inherent superiority of one racial or ethnic group over another. Racism can be evident within organizational or institutional structures and programs as well as within individual thought or behaviour patterns.60

Reasonable Accommodation:

Providing or modifying devices, goods, services or facilities or changing practices or procedures in order to provide access for a particular person with a particular activity. The duty to accommodate is not unlimited. The employer or provider of services need not accommodate to the point of undue hardship. For example, many theatres now accommodate people who use wheelchairs by removing some of their regular seating.

Sexism:

A set of implicit beliefs, attitudes and behaviours in which distinctions between people's worth and roles are made based on their biological sex. Sexism can be evident within organizational or institutional structures and programs as well as within individual thought or behaviour patterns.61

Sexual Discrimination:

Any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference, intentional or unintentional, based on biological sex that has the purpose of nullifying or impairing the equal enjoyment or exercise of human rights or roles.62

Sexual Harassment:

Abusive and unwelcome conduct or comment that is either:

  1. An objectionable and unwelcome sexual solicitation or advance; or
  2. A sexual solicitation or advance made by a person who is in a position to confer any benefit on, or deny any benefit to, the recipient of the solicitation or advance, if the person making the solicitation or advance knows or ought reasonably to know that it is unwelcome; or
  3. A reprisal or threat for rejecting a sexual solicitation or advance.63

Sexual Orientation:

Heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality.

Social Justice:

The organization of the resources and institutions of society in such a way as to ensure that all people are equally able to exercise their human rights.

Socio-Economic Status:

Status accorded by society based on one's level of social prestige and one's share of resources and power within society.

Stereotype:

A definition, image or statement based on a fixed set of ideas, often exaggerated and distorted, concerning what are thought to be characteristics of all members of a group and allowing for no individual differences.

Systemic Discrimination:

A policy, practice or procedure that may appear, at first glance, to be neutral and applied equally to all individuals but which results in differential treatment to a particular group. One example is a requirement by an employer that all employees in a certain job be over 5'11" or 1.7 meters in height. If this requirement cannot be shown to be a genuine job requirement, it could be held to be discriminatory as it has a tendency to prevent the hiring of females and individuals of certain racial and/or ethic minority groups. Another example could be a practice of posting job vacancies in a location which is physically inaccessible to persons unable to climb stairs. This denies equal access to important employment information.64

Visible Minorities:

A group defined and treated by the dominant ethnocultural group on the basis of being visibly different.

Women's Studies:

The interdisciplinary study of women in society. It places women at the centre of the learning process. Women's studies examines women's status, role, women's knowledge, experience, writing, actions and beliefs in the past and the present. It supports women's equality by fostering critical consciousness of the social inequalities affecting women, including those based on race, class, sexual orientation, differing abilities and age.65

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