Adultism: A Well-Kept Secret

Adultism is the term used to describe the oppression of young people by adults. An article by John Bell included this definition: “…adultism refers to behaviors and attitudes based on the assumption that adults are better than young people, and entitled to act upon young people without their agreement. This mistreatment is reinforced by social institutions, laws, customs, and attitudes.”

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Your Invitation to Be Heard About Adultism

The following is a personal experience of adultism that was submitted recently on my website. I invite anyone who has a story from their current life or their past to submit your story or stories. They will eventually be published in a book about adultism. It is up to you whether you include your name or any identifying details. Your privacy, if you want it, will be totally respected and protected.

I am in my senior year of high school in South Dakota. One of my teachers, I’ll call her Mrs. X, recently accused me and my girlfriend of cheating on an essay test because we used our own paper instead hers. We were given the questions ahead of time, and we were accused of writing our answers together and bringing them to class. We explained that we did not cheat in any way, and told the teacher that we had gone to another teacher for advice on how to write a good essay on the upcoming test, and used that teacher’s advice. There was no way we could have written 2 essay answers in the 5 minutes we had after speaking to the other teacher. Mrs. X and two other teachers sat us down and said that our evidence didn’t matter, and that we were going to be punished. We went to our principal, and he became angry that we went to him. He had a discussion with Mrs. X, and we were later told that we weren't being accused of cheating but were being punished because we didn't follow directions and use Mrs. X's paper. When we said she never told us to use her paper, we were ignored and we had to take the test again or take a large point deduction on our first test. Our school record has a cheating incident on it with Mrs. X.

Have you ever been accused of cheating with no opportunity to be taken seriously when you denied it? Have you ever expected to be supported by an adult, and found out that in the case of adult vs. youth, the adult wins? Share your story here in comments or on my website.

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