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School kids create their own version of the Magna Carta

Pupils from Sunderland’s Richard Avenue Primary have recreated the Magna Carta, 800 years after the original document was sealed.

Year 6 pupils wrote their own “Great Charter” detailing the rules and regulations they believe are most important in modern society, reports ChronicleLive. They were even assisted by “King John” and unveiled the scroll on Monday in one of Sunderland’s oldest buildings, the Grade 1 listed Holy Trinity Church, which is set to become a new cultural centre after securing Heritage Lottery Funding.

Councillor John Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, said: “The challenge for pupils is to write their own ‘Great Charter’ to reflect the rules and regulations that they think are most important for a safe, happy and fair society in the 21st century. But it’s also a really important lesson about one of the key chapters in the history of our country.”

More: Primary school bans handstands, cartwheels and basically all the fun

The Magna Carta (Latin for “the Great Charter”) was agreed by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on June 15, 1215, as a practical solution to the political crisis of the time. It established for the first time the principle that every citizen, including the King, was subject to the law. Despite the fact that almost a third of its text was deleted or rewritten within 10 years, and almost all of its clauses were repealed in modern times, the Magna Carta remains one of the most important documents in the world and a cornerstone not only of the British constitution but of many of the world’s judicial systems.

One of the most famous sections (clause 39) gave all “free men” the right to justice and a fair trial: 

“No free man shall be arrested, or imprisoned, or dispossessed, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any other way ruined… except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.”

And also this: “To no-one will we sell, to no-one will we refuse or delay, right or justice.”

To commemorate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta the British Library has published a crowdsourced version for the digital era. Over 3,000 young people submitted 500 clauses for the Digital Magna Carta, which were then voted for by the public. The top 10 hopes for the future of the internet on June 15, Magna Carta Day, were as follows: 

The Web We Want Will…

1. Not let companies pay to control it, and not let governments restrict our right to information.

2. Allow freedom of speech.

3. Be free from government censors in all countries.

4. Not allow any kind of government censorship.

5. Be available for all those who wish to use it.

6. Be free from censorship and mass surveillance.

7. Allow equal access to knowledge, information and current news worldwide.

8. Have freedom of speech.

9. Not be censored by the government.

10. Not sell our personal information and preferences for money, and will make it clearer if the company/Website intends to do so.

Clearly censorship and freedom of speech are the most important issues for young internet users. If you don’t agree, you can have your say by participating in creating a “bill of rights” for the internet.

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