A headteacher has urged people, and especially adults, not to call young people “woke” for standing up for their beliefs.

The warning came from Samantha Price, the headmistress of Benenden School in Kent and president of the Girls’ Schools Association, who has said that issues such as racism, sexism and climate change are of genuine importance to the younger generations.

Today, Price is due to address a conference telling them that young people need to be supported by adults and not be discredited with the term woke, which has become a pejorative.

The word “woke” originated as a way to describe someone who is concerned with racism, sexism and other social issues, but has been turned into a derogatory term used to criticise those people.

At her organisation’s annual conference she will tell the attendees: “Adults comment that they feel today’s teenagers are speaking a different language; that they can’t say anything without being corrected or ‘called out’ by these PC children.”

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Price said she is “weary of hearing the older generation say, ‘you can’t say anything anymore’” and wants older generations to realise that “times have changed” and they have to keep up.

It comes amid growing protests over issues such as climate change and racial equality, often which involve young people.

In 2018, Greta Thunberg famously started the first School Strike for Climate, which has since encouraged children from around the world to follow in her footsteps.

Last year also saw worldwide protests for the Black Lives Matter racial justice cause that also engaged many young people.

Price said: “This so-called ‘woke’ generation are actually simply young people who care about things: about causes, about the planet, about people. It ultimately comes down to something very simple: being kind.

“Isn’t that what we all want our toddlers to be? We teach them to be kind. And then when they grow up to be impressive, kind young people with an understanding and appreciation for the world around them, how can it be right that we mock them, or dismiss them as unrealistic do-gooders?”

Price’s comments have received a mixed reaction on social media. While some agreed with her, others believe it further stokes division.

One person wrote: “I agree 100%. Using ‘woke’ as a derogatory term is lazy and unproductive.”

Another commented: “Well said Samantha Price. It’s their future, not ours.”

Someone else agreed, writing: “I’m very weary of old fogeys dismissing every new thought and movement as ‘woke’. Older generations need to listen and learn too.”

Meanwhile, someone else argued that young people caring for the planet and other people is imposed “left wing ideology” that’s been put “in their woke heads”.

They wrote: “Don’t call woke youngsters woke, as it hurts their woke feelings... Says woke headteacher responsible for putting woke ideas in their woke heads.

“Want to impose their left wing ideology, but without the debate. The state of teaching these days.”

And Piers Morgan said...

We’re sure this won’t be the end of it.

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