English Reading Practice

Human Right Number 20:
The Right to Public Assembly

"Assembly" is when people meet together for a particular purpose.

1. Watch the video at the top of the page.

2. Read the story "The Right to Public Assembly" just below it.

3. Do the exercise at the bottom of the page.

Here is the The Right to Public Assembly video. You can watch it in your own language at www.youthforhumanrights.org. (Simply click the word "language" at the top of their homepage.)

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights describes 30 basic rights that each person has, simply because he or she is human.

This is human right number 20 (the simplified version):

"20. The Right to Public Assembly. We all have the right to meet our friends and to work together in peace to defend our rights. Nobody can make us join a group if we don't want to."

Now read the short story about this important human right.

The Right to Public Assembly  

Miss Adams is a new teacher at Williams High School. Parents do not like Miss Adams. She is very young. She dresses, talks, and acts a lot like the students. This makes the parents angry.

However, the students really like Miss Adams, and they learn a lot from her.

Still, the parents complain, and the high school decides not to hire Miss Adams back for a second school year.

The students are very upset. They talk about it at lunch. Susanna, a sophomore, says, "Let's have a sit-in!"

Her friend Ashley says, "What is a sit-in?"

Susanna answers, "We all gather and sit together peacefully in show of support."

Ashley asks, "What does that do?"

Susanna answers, "It leads to change, because we do not leave until someone notices!"

Ashley says, "Oh, cool! Let's do it!"

So, the students gather the next day after school in the gym and they all sit together quietly.

Mr. Sweet, one of the teachers, asks them for an explanation. Susanna speaks for the group. "Miss Adams is a good teacher. We choose to sit here together until she gets her job back."

Mr. Sweet laughs quietly and walks away. Not long after, the principal walks into the gym. "You kids get out of here this instant!"

Susanna speaks up again, "With all due respect sir, we cannot do that. We ask you to please give Miss Adams her job back."

"Absolutely not. You kids go home. You cannot just sit here. This is public property."

Some of the students move around nervously, but Susanna quickly answers, "Sir, we have the right to public assembly. This is a peaceful protest."

"She's right," Mr. Sweet interrupts. "They do have the right to gather here, and I think I should join them." Then Mr. Sweet takes a seat and joins the students. 

The principal looks frustrated. Then another teacher walks in and sits beside Mr. Sweet. Then a third teacher does the same.

The principal sighs, "Fine. You make your point. I will speak to Miss Adams in the morning and invite her to come back next year." He turns around, scratches his head, and walks away saying, "A peaceful public assembly – what can you say to that?"

And now, practice:

Exercise 01

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