DOES IT BOTHER YOU? You’re too old to be a child, but too young to be an adult.

By Hannah McCrone, Opinion Editor

Does it bother you that you’re being treated like a child and told to act like an adult?  Some teachers at West Essex treat students like they are still in grammar school, all while preaching the importance of maturity. They tell students to be responsible and mature, then they turn around and hand us rules befitting children. When we oppose these rules, they simply explain that since we are within school grounds, we can be treated like children.

This is hypocritical, demeaning, and just plain rude. If a teacher wants to be respected, they should be prepared to return it to us. Likewise, if they want us to act like adults, they shouldn’t be treating us like children. The lack of respect and childlike treatment bothers me and it should bother you, too.

Every year, West Essex students of every grade log into their genesis, click the forms tab, and complete the High School Student Handbook Confirmation/Code of Conduct Form signature. If you do not fill out this form, your genesis locks and you are not granted access to your grades. Within this 60 page handbook, hidden from the lazy student, is an agreement to give up your rights when entering the school.

Signing this agreement allows teachers and administration to force students to follow whatever rules they deem necessary and mete out punishments for those that don’t submit. This means that even if we disagree with a rule, we must still follow it. On school grounds, we are in a dictatorship, not a democracy.

Students are fed up with the disparity between teacher and student and want a change in their treatment, especially those that are or will soon be legal adults.

“I don’t think I have mutual respect between myself and my teachers,” senior Jon Bartley said. “Sometimes I feel like they think they can treat me like a child because I am a student. I’m going to be 18 soon, and I think I deserve equal respect. Especially when they demand respect from me.”

While it is important students show their teachers respect, as not just their elders but those in authority too, that respect should be returned. A lot of teachers do not give the benefit of the doubt for every student, but assume off the bat that we are either disrespectful or immature. I find this incredibly offensive. Assuming every student is going to act like a select few is not only disenfranchising for those students that would have freely given their respect and conducted themselves with maturity, but it makes us want to act out as well.

Treating us like children isn’t just impacting our actions in school, but teaching us that when we go off to college or enter the “real world,” professors or future employers will treat us much the same. How can we prepare ourselves to become full-time adults when we’re being told were too young to make decisions, too young to be treated with respect, and even too young to go to the bathroom without asking first? We can’t. That’s why this behavior needs to stop and it’s on students to demand a change, but teachers to allow that change.