A Summerhill student's view on children's rights in schools - National Democracy Week - July 2018


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This is the next in our series of articles for National Democracy Week 2018. For more articles in the National Democracy Week series, see our campaign page here. We’ll be publishing new articles every day this week, so keep a look out for more takes on this important topic.





Today I saw someone proudly wearing a shirt that said 'CHILDREN ARE PEOPLE'. Being a child myself, I was greatly confused by this. My first thought was 'Well duh?' It didn't make any sense to me why someone should feel the need to point out something that's so blatantly obvious. But then I considered it and realised that throughout my seven years of state school education I was treated as a small animal to be trained and not as a young mind to develop. My needs as a young mind where unnecessary, my unhappiness as a small animal was ignored, and my opinion as a person was never heard. This all became normal to me very quickly.

My current place of education is Summerhill school. A free school, run by democracy. Everyones opinion at Summerhill is equally important. When I first discovered Summerhill I was twelve and the idea of being an equal in school was absolutely spectacular. Looking back now, it amazes me that a twelve year old has such a lack of freedom that ideas of democracy and equality are unfathomable and furthermore that this is not only accepted but mandatory in the society we are a part of.

And so I have realised that the shirt saying 'CHILDREN ARE PEOPLE' is far from unnecessary. It's trying to tell people something they think they know but don't know at all. It's trying to change what the word 'child' means...


Amira Matilda


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