For the Love of Learning – A Discussion on Children’s Rights – Epi#78


Show Title:

For the Love of Learning Episode 78

A Discussion on Children’s Rights

Monday October 17, 2016  8:00 pm – 10:00 pm EST
Tuesday October 18, 2016 1:00 am – 3:00 am BST


Teresa Graham Brett
Laurie A. Couture
Marley Richards
Neil Karkhanis
Martin Harvey-Olson


In this episode we are going to explore the immense topic of children’s rights.

In 1989 the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (or the CRC) defines a child as any human person who has not yet reached the age of eighteen years. Children’s rights includes their right to association with both parents, human identity as well as the basic needs for physical protection, food, universal state-paid education and health care. In addition the CRC includes, equal protection of the child’s civil rights, and freedom from discrimination on the basis of the child’s race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, disability, color, ethnicity, or other characteristics.

But, do children actually have the ability to make choices for themselves? Wouldn’t that be considered a child’s rights?

In contrast to the CRC as minors by law, children do not have autonomy or the right to make decisions on their own for themselves in any known jurisdiction of the world. Instead their adult caregivers, including parents, social workers, teachers, youth workers, and others, are vested with that authority, depending on the circumstances.

These implications of this are widespread. Tonight we are going to explore a child’s rights over themselves, their bodies, in the home and in society at large.

In a recent article authored by Chris Mercogliano, he address a chid’s rights in the school environment.

“In my work as an educational consultant, I have visited many schools all over the world. I have observed, in both traditional and alternative schools, that children’s basic rights are often ignored. I believe that all human beings, no matter how old they are, must be granted the right to take care of their bodily needs. The child’s body and whole organism are by nature determined to move and learn in specific ways. When we adults refuse to collaborate with the child’s natural development, we create immense, unnecessary suffering. Even seemingly harmless experiences such as, occasionally being denied the right to go to the toilet when needed, can leave trauma and health problems that are carried into adulthood.”

Teresa Graham Brett


Teresa Graham Brett lives her passion for creating social change by combining work in social justice education with parenting. After graduating from law school, she opted to serve the cause of social change as an advocate, educator, and leader at three large public universities across the United States.

When she became a parent she realized that in spite of her personal and professional values, she had accepted, without question, the dominant cultural beliefs that adults have the right to control and coerce children. Using her experience in facilitating transformative learning and intergroup dialogue, she began my own intensive learning journey.

It led her to a deeper understanding that the ways our society treats children sets the foundation for all other forms of injustice.

As a writer and consultant, she works with other parents to do inner work as a foundation for outer action that ultimately liberates individuals, groups and communities. As a university leader, she advocates for creating a university that is committed to full inclusion of all community members in order to create healthy and whole communities based on respect and justice.

You can find Teresa through her website She also serves as editor and writer for Kindred Media and Community,, and she co-founded Alliance for Parenting Education in Africa with Dieudonne Allo,


Laurie A. Couture

Laurie A. Couture is the author of Instead of Medicating and Punishing: Healing the Causes of Our Children’s Acting-Out Behavior by Parenting and Educating the Way Nature Intended. As an Attachment Parenting and Unschooling coach, she specializes in helping youth rediscover their passion for learning and helping families heal through the wisdom of nature’s intent. Laurie was featured in the documentary films, Class Dismissed (2014) and The War On Kids (2009). She has a background as a licensed mental health counselor and child trauma specialist. She also has specialty in the Autism spectrum, children’s rights and adoptive parenting. Laurie is the proud Mom to her son, Brycen, almost 23, who unschooled through graduation. She is currently writing her second book, Nurturing and Empowering Our Sons and is supporting a sabbatical to write the book entirely on sponsorships and donations. Visit her on Patreon to learn more about her project:

Marley Richards

Marley Richards is a 12-year-old otaku with aspirations to become a bilingual voice actor and a vocalist within an idol group/unit. She also enjoys writing and designing characters as a hobby (because there are too many ideas in her head). She is currently attending Kpop College online.

Neil Karkhanis

Neil is 13 years old and did not attend school until Sept 2015 when he decided to go to the South Jersey Sudbury School. He likes performing in plays, politics and creating youtube content.

For the past 10 years, he and his family have been spending their winters in Florida and summers in New Jersey. They love their dog, Buster and cat, Kitty – who also both travel back and forth between FL and NJ.

Sudbury School:

Neil’s youtube channel:


Martin Harvey-Olson


Martin Harvey-Olson is an unschooled kid who is all about creative expression through music. He has been following his passions for years – cosplay, art, martial arts, gymnastics, but most of all music. He has taught himself to play multiple instruments, and is working on mastering multiple musical styles and genres, although his favorite is Rock/Alternative.




Lainie Liberti

As always, you can find out more about your host, Lainie Liberti at her website and the alternative education & world schooling project she runs with her teenage son at: You can also connect with her on twitter @ilainie & facebook.

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