C.S.C. – Week 22


We continue our unit on Human Rights this week by taking a check-in quiz on human needs, human rights, and sustainability before moving on to a movie that exploers a contemporary human rights violation.

What did we do in class today?

Monday (short block)

We prepped for our quiz on Tuesday

Human Needs

  • What are the 4 most basic human needs? Oxygen, Warmth, Water, Food
  • What did Abraham Maslow discover about human needs? That some needs must be met before others can be.

Human Rights

  • What was the document created by the UN called? Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • What major event preceded the creation of the UDHR? World War II – 90 million deaths
  • Name 5 of the 30 Human Rights

‘What is Sustainability’ article

  • Definition of ‘Sustainable’
  • Definition of Renewable and Non-Renewable
  • Pollutants and Process
  • 5% of pop. but use 25% of world’s resources

What are the ways to change?

  • eliminate waste
  • recycle more
  • use less (less demand, greater efficiency)

Sufficiency is something else again; it is a matter not of quantity, but of quality, not of technology, but of moderation, equity, morality.

“No one wants growth, constant expansion, physical swelling. Growth is not a human value, it’s a means to the ends of sufficiency and security. Once we have enough, no one wants more, unless it is sold to us as a cheap substitute for something else, something nonmaterial.”  What does the author mean by this?

“It would have no poverty and therefore, as in present societies where there is no poverty, a stabilizing population.”  Explain this.


We took our quiz and began discussing the film we are going to watch.


We began watching the Laramie Project, which is an HBO adaptation of a play that deals with the Matthew Shephard case.  Matthew was college student in Laramie, Wyoming who was beaten and left tied to a fencepost largely because he was gay.

As we watch the film we will take notes by using the Laramie Project Viewing Guide(questions also posted below).  Each student will choose one question to be an ‘expert’ on and they will share their response and lead a discussion on this question after the film.

The full film can be viewed below…

Laramie Project Viewing Handout


The Laramie Project contains frank language and references to sexual themes. While the film may elicit strong reactions, it is possible to moderate a class discussion on this topic while maintaining an academic focus. The following guidelines, developed by the editors of Teaching Tolerance, can help ensure that discussion remains constructive:

● Class members should agree on a set of ground rules that will steer the discussion. Examples of guidelines include a commitment to confidentiality and to respect others, a ban on the use of slurs, and an agreement that only one person will speak at a time. What other ground rules should we follow?

● When discussing sexual orientation issues, it is imperative that teachers and students resist the urge to place gay and lesbian youth, those who are perceived to be gay, or those with gay friends or family members in the spotlight. Students will enter into the conversation as they feel comfortable.

● It is the moderator’s role to establish as comfortable a setting as possible. Special care must be taken to ensure that those holding a minority view are not vilified by students “on the other side.” The moderator should also pose questions to the class to help keep the conversation on track.

● The point of a classroom discussion of diversity issues – including sexual orientation – is not to reach a class consensus, as tempting as that may be. Rather, the goal is to establish a forum for a free and respectful exchange of ideas.


In October 1998, Matthew Shepard – an openly gay college student living in Laramie, Wyoming – was kidnapped, brutally beaten, and left to die. Outrage over the crime sparked international debate on issues including hate crime legislation, human rights and privileges, and the distinction between tolerance and acceptance.

Four weeks after the murder, Moisés Kaufman and members of Tectonic Theater Project traveled to Laramie to begin interviewing residents. Over the course of a year and a half, the company conducted more than 200 interviews and collaborated to develop the resulting material. The play gives voice to the real life testimony of Laramie citizens – from ranchers to university professors – as they struggle to come to terms with the shocking event and the questions that are raised in the wake of violence.


1) What happened to Matthew Shephard?

2) Why was Matthew treated this way?

3) Which of the reasons for Matthew’s treatment exist in our local community? Please give at least one example and describe in depth.

4) How were the media treated in Laramie?

5) What societal issues or social problems did the film highlight?

6) Why do you think the people of Laramie were shocked to discover that the crime was in fact committed by a member of the community? Could this sort of thing happen in

7) The Laramie Project illustrates a hate crime against a gay man. Discuss homophobia. Why are homosexuals and lesbians subject to violence?

8) What other groups of people have been known to suffer from hate crimes and violence?

9) What is the difference between violence towards an individual and violence directed at a group of people?

10) What is a stereotype? What are some instances of stereotyping that occur in your school or community?

11) Think about the media attention that this incident brought to the small community of Laramie. How did it affect the citizens? How did it impact the crime? How did it impact the trial?

12) Look at the following quotation:

FATHER ROGER SCHMIT: I think right now our most important teachers must be Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney. They have to be our teachers. How did you learn? What did we as a society do to teach you that? See, I don’t know if many people will let them be their teacher. I think it would be wonderful if the judge said, “In addition to your sentence, you must tell your story, you must tell your story.”

What do you think Father Schmit means when he suggests that Russell and Aaron are our most important teachers? How can Russell and Aaron be teachers?

13) As illustrated in The Laramie Project, the docudrama can be a very powerful form of

expression. Identify some of the elements of this drama that made it powerful. What stuck with you? Which characters do you remember best and why? Which character do you most admire?