Children's Rights

Somewhere in the course of instruction it is appropriate to let middle school students know that they have legally entered an important part of life, classically know as the age of reason. At the age of twelve children are considered to be credible. Many churches wait until children to be twelve in order for them to join.

The legal system in America honors this passage. This has significance in the student's credibility when reporting information. Class discussions at some point should inform students of the legal benchmarks:

12: Age of Reason: testimony may be admitted with validity in a court of law, certain legal rights
16: Individual may operate a motor vehicle
18: Legal voting age, right to participate in armed services, marry without parent permission
21: Full status-freedom to act as an adult citizen


Children's Rights

Children have several substantial legal rights. These are:

The right to be supported by their parents. This includes the right to receive food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and an education, as a minimum.
The right to not to be abused or neglected. If a child is mistreated, the state must provide protection, which may require removing the child from his or her home.
The right to sue, although usually an adult representative must file the suit.

Web sites to Explore:

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Human Rights of Children and Youth Click here


Quotation from:

The division of human life into periods for legal purposes is naturally more sharp and definite than in physiology. It would be unscientific in the physiologist to name any precise year for the transition from one of his stages to another, inasmuch as that differs very considerably among different nations, and even to some extent among different individuals of the same nation. But the law must necessarily be fixed and uniform, and even where it professes to proceed according to nature, must be more precise than nature. The Roman law divided human life for its purposes into four chief periods, which had their subdivisions—(i) in-fantia, lasting till the close of the seventh year; (2) the period between infant ia and pubertas, males becoming puberes at fourteen and females at twelve; (3) adolescentia, the period between puberty and majority; and (4) the period after the twenty-fifth year, when males became majores. The first period was one of total legal incapacity; in the second period a person could lawfully do certain specified acts, but only with the sanction of his tutor or guardian; in the third the restrictions were fewer, males being permitted to manage their own property, contract marriage and make a will; but majority was not reached until the age of twenty-five. By English law there are two great periods into which life is divided—infancy, which lasts in both sexes until the twenty-first year, and manhood or womanhood The period of infancy, again, is divided into several stages, marked by the growing development both of rights and obligations. Thus at twelve years of age a male may take the oath of allegiance; at fourteen both sexes are held to have arrived at years of discretion, and may therefore choose guardians, give evidence and consent or disagree to a marriage. A female has the last privilege from the twelfth year, but the marriage cannot be celebrated until the majority of the parties without the consent of parents or guardians. At fourteen, too, both sexes are fully responsible to the criminal law. Between seven and fourteen there is responsibility only if the accused be proved doli capax, capable of discerning between right and wrong, the principle in that case being that malitia supplet aetatem. At twenty-one both males and females obtain their full legal rights, and become liable to all legal obligations. A seat in the British parliament may be taken at twenty-one. Certain professions, however, demand as a qualification in entrants a more advanced age than that of legal manhood. In the Church of England a candidate for deacon's orders must be twenty-three (in the Roman Catholic Church, twenty-two) and for priest's orders twenty-four years of age; and no clergyman is eligible for a bishopric under thirty. In Scotland infancy is not a legal term. The time previous to majority, which, as in England, is reached by both sexes at twenty-one, is divided into two stages: pupilage lasts until the attainment of puberty, which the law fixes at fourteen in males and twelve in females; minority lasts from these ages respectively until twenty-one.

Continue in website for discussion of legal rights.

New! Game for Students

By Becky Hicks

As players travel around the colorful game board they may land on squares asking about feelings, about risky situations, or requiring role-play. Or they may land on the circles that require them to roll the dice and discuss either home, friends or school.

Includes colourful game board, playing pieces, game cards and dice.

Small groups – 2-8 players Age 10 - 13