What is it about?

The paper introduces an approach, useful in research gathering children's views, that would ensure that children's views are reflected almost unfiltered by frameworks in the output. The approach is called "child participation research as duty fulfillment and investigation" to emphasize that we, the researchers and readers, are also rights duty bearers. Using this approach, we look for the US children's reasons for participating in the 2018 Parkland school shooting protests across the US. We look for these reasons from newsletter articles written by students and published in randomly sampled 326 middle and high schools across the US. We found 10 statistically significant groups of reasons (themes). These are children's reasons: (1) We have to act/do something, (2) We have to stop the fear and the worry, (3) We honor the lost and the survivors, (4) We have a voice, (5) We have to stop the silence and speak out/up, (6) We have to be heard, (7) We have seen so much loss and violence, (8) We have power, (9) We have to fight, and (10) We have the right. From these reasons, we look for children's inputs on the four key issues haunting children's rights. The child rights field does not have a consensus on the answers to these four key issues (what children are, what they know, what they deserve, and how they are different from adults). The children's views may point the field towards this direction. From their protest participation views, children show that they view themselves as simultaneously being and becoming, but not in a logical conjunctive way but in a disjunctive way. They view themselves as agents with power. They claim their protection, provision, and participation rights simultaneously in and thought the protests. And, they view themselves as having rights that are gatekept by adults. The children's protest participation views and their views on the four key issues on children's rights present us also with evidence that the either/or categorizations in childhood and child rights studies--such as "human being/becoming," "nurturance/self-determination rights," "protection/provision/participation rights," "children's rights/adult rights," etc.--do not capture nearly children's views and experience of their rights. Children's views point to the need to explore the intersection, in-between, and in-progress of these categories by considering theme to be in logical disjunctive relationship.

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Why is it important?

Through this paper, we get to listen and hopefully weigh on children's views on the issues surrounding the 2018 Parkland school shooting and the subsequent series of protests. We also get to listen and weigh their views on their nature, competence, rights, and difference from adults. These views should be able to help those whose actions and decisions affect children be more informed on what matters to children surrounding gun violence, protests and political participation, and their rights. The approach that we presented should also help researchers and practitioners working with children and especially those who elicit children's views in justifying a more unfiltered processing of children's voice.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Children on their Participation, Nature, Competence, Rights, and Difference from Adults in the 2018 Parkland School Shooting Protests, The International Journal of Children s Rights, December 2022, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/15718182-30040008.
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