Schools present a unique context for the generation and resolution of conflicts of human rights. While the conflicts that arise are many and various, a default response appears to be the prioritisation of the rights of the majority. Hence the rights of the many then trump the rights of the few. However, the intersection of multiple stakeholders, and multiple interests and rights, requires decision-makers to identify the rights at stake for all and address conflicts in ways that are both principled and transparent. Drawing on an established body of human rights theory, and using the example of children whose behaviour is causing disruption as a case, this paper offers a rights-informed approach to consider responses to some of the tensions and conflicts that can arise between students in schools. While acknowledging that (a) the resolution of these disputes will turn on individual facts and contexts and rarely be clear-cut and (b) that human rights theory and law on this issue is also complex and contested, we suggest that a rights-informed response should, and would usefully, be applied in situations when the interests of one child appear to conflict with the interests of others in the context of schools.
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- education rights
- Human rights
- rights conflict
- student behaviour
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