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As children across Serbia enjoy their summer break, for some children the next school year can’t start soon enough. It may be their first chance to get an education. The Serbian government formally pledged in June that all children with…
Marina  [pseudonym], a 4-year-old girl with developmental disabilities who spent ten months of her life in an institution, with her foster sister. © 2015 Jasenko Rasol for Human Rights Watch
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(London/Washington D.C.)  -- “I never come here, just because of boys,” Atifa says, pointing at the door of the stall. “They’re opening the door.” Atifa, a sixth grader in Kabul, Afghanistan, attends a school of 650 girls. Since they study in tents…
Girls in Afghanistan -- And everywhere else -- Need toilets
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“My sister finished the first year at school, but then she got tired and decided to leave. She walked four hours each way every day, so that made her tired,” Sabina, 12, who grew up in rural Balkh province, said. Sabina was able to study starting at age…
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On March 20, Utah officially repealed an anachronistic provision of state law that prohibited the "advocacy of homosexuality" in public schools.   The repeal is an important milestone, and will make a huge difference for Utah…
LGBT Rainbow Flag
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It Gets Better, Just Not Here

Over the past year, I’ve traveled around the United States interviewing students, teachers, and administrators about the issues that LGBT people face in schools. The stories I heard were sobering. Despite some progress in laws and attitudes,…
Josh Greer, a student who has been the target of bullying and discrimination in school, writes in his journal in his bedroom in Cache Country, UT, October 2016.
News

Urge to Press the Government for Action Is Long Gone

“This is not a side event. This is the main event,” several speakers said at the – yes – side event on women’s empowerment the day before the October 5 donor conference on Afghanistan in Brussels. The donor session, for all its warm glow, highlighted the…
DATE IMPORTED:October 05, 2016(Front Row L-R) Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, President Ashraf Ghani, European Council President Donald Tusk, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, U.S.
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Gales of laughter greeted my question: “So, which is worse, ISIS or the Taliban?” I was speaking to a room full of women who had recently fled areas in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province controlled by groups claiming allegiance to the…
An Afghan woman in Chaghchran capital of Ghor province June 2, 2014.
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Since the 2001 U.S.-led military intervention in Afghanistan, Western countries have invested heavily in education there. But as security across the country deteriorates, schools in many places are under threat, not only from resurgent…
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On Friday, the Obama Administration made headlines when the Department of Education and Department of Justice issued guidance explaining how public schools should respect the rights of transgender students.  The federal guidance has…
A sign protesting a recently introduced North Carolina law restricting bathroom access for transgender people, in Durham, North Carolina.
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The American Civil Liberties Union recently released footage of an 8-year-old student in Kenton County, Kentucky, shackled and crying in pain. In the video, the third-grader (named only “SR”), is restrained by a pair of handcuffs around his biceps,…
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This week, reality struck home for Afghanistan over the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Ratified by Afghanistan in 2003 during the early heady post-Taliban days when it seemed like a bright future for…
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When I went to college, I chose a highly regarded university with a strong tradition as a Jesuit institution. I was pleased with my undergraduate education at Boston College, but I still lament that my alma mater denies students access to contraceptive…
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When grocery shopping for my children, I often ask myself, "Is this cereal healthy?" or "Are these carrots organic?" But until recently, I never thought to ask, "Did a 12-year old pick these strawberries?" Child labor is usually portrayed as a problem…
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Over two hundred thousand kids are punished in US schools each year by being paddled. One in five of them has a disability. No child should be paddled in school but it is hard to imagine anything more outrageous than paddling or hitting children because…
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By Alice Farmer and Nsombi Lambright, published in The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Mississippi)   All parents want their children to attend safe schools where the focus is on learning and students of all races are treated fairly. Unfortunately, after months…
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College students are headed home for the summer, leaving campuses to the alumni for a few days of remember-when revelry. Welcome to the annual ritual that has university development officers across the country sharpening their utensils. May I pour you…
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In the city of Herat in western Afghanistan, the government of the warlord Ismail Khan recently applied new rules rolling back educational opportunities for women and girls. Men may no longer teach women or girls in private classes. Girls and boys are no…