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Two Rights Make Her Wrong

| Learning | December 31, 2013

(Our school has several compulsory courses, including a half course on either religious education or citizenship. I chose citizenship since it was a new course and sounded interesting. I soon found out that it was a total joke. The teacher spent a whole lesson standing at the front of the class actually crying over the Union Jack flag and talking about her patriotic pride. This was followed by several other pointless lessons that covered nothing at all. The class culminates in a mock exam that forces us to miss lunch break, and 45 minutes of the next period. The test is a waste of time. I finish in 15 minutes. Then I try to leave.)

Teacher: “Sit down. You may not leave the exam room until the exam time is complete.”

Me: “I have finished. I am hungry and want to get lunch.”

Teacher: “This is an exam. You are not allowed to leave.”

Me: “Actually, I’m pretty sure that by keeping me here without access to food is illegal.”

Teacher: “No. It’s not. You’re a student. You don’t have rights.”

(This goes back and forth with me trying to argue the whole point of our course was to learn about our rights. Eventually the lunch break ends. The next period begins, which is one of the courses I actually still have hope for.)

Me: “You are now making me miss my science lesson which I’m pretty sure counts as a violation of my right to education.”

Teacher: *repeating as a mantra now* “You’re a student. You don’t have rights.”

(This argument has now been picked up by nearly everyone else in the room who just wants to leave. It starts to get very loud very quickly. The teacher is just screaming at the top of her voice, ‘You’re students, you don’t have rights!’ The noise has evidently disturbed other nearby classes. One contains the head teacher who comes to investigate.)

Head Teacher: “Right, everyone. Be quiet and let me find out what’s going on here.” *turns to teacher* “What is happening?”

Teacher: “They won’t remain quiet and finish their mock tests.”

Me: “Excuse me, miss. I finished mine in the middle of lunch break. You then refused to let me leave and get lunch. Further, you kept us all in the room through both lunch and now half of fifth period.”

Head Teacher: *turns to me* “She kept you in through the whole of lunch break? And is now making you miss other classes?”

Me: “Yes. And when I tried to tell her this she kept saying that I’m a student and I don’t have rights, which is ironic since we’re in a citizenship class!”

Teacher: “You don’t have rights, you stupid child!”

Me: “Actually, when you weren’t crying over the Union Jack about your patriotism you actually told us that any British citizen regardless of age has both the right to education and the right to freedom of movement. Two rights you have denied to us.”

Head Teacher: “Okay. I think I understand. All students leave the room now. If you need lunch, since you were unable to get any, the cafeteria is still open. Please go and help yourself. Once you have eaten, please return to class. Tell your teachers you had permission from me to do so.” *turns to teacher* “You and I better have a little chat.”

(Later that week, the teacher was fired. The course was scrapped the following year. I still managed to pass the exam… somehow.)

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