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Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Summary of Ending Discrimination Against Young People

Adam Fletcher has worked with young people and their adult allies since he was a teenager. Speaking and training thousands of youth and adults in schools and organizations across the United States since then, Fletcher has gained a reputation for provocative, empowering approaches to transforming the roles of young people throughout society. In August 2013, the internationally-recognized expert in youth engagement released ENDING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST YOUNG PEOPLE, a book-length summary of what he says is the most important issue facing all young people everywhere today.

ENDING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST YOUNG PEOPLE is an unusual social analysis that veers far from the boilerplate by combining meaningful insight with practical steps anyone can take to change the situation. In it, Fletcher recounts several powerful stories of discrimination he has seen along with penetrating practices in families, schools, and even organizations intending to help children and youth today. He also discusses in great detail virtually every major social issue facing young people today, offering his opinion and possible strategies meeting these challenges.

On issues ranging from parenting to commercialization, Fletcher’s stance is one that attempts to find a middle ground between radical youth liberation and what he sees as forced social hierarchy. Fletcher calls for compromise between young people and adults, and new approaches to old assumptions that he contends are undermining well-intended work throughout society. His overarching message is that society is becoming mature enough to re-envision how adults behave towards children and youth, and that its essential to do things differently; however, in order to ensure that opportunities are as effective as they could be for as many people as possible, we have to address negative attitudes and opinions that may be undermining our efforts.

In the introduction to ENDING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST YOUNG PEOPLE, Fletcher shares the basis of his analysis. “Any honest conversation about engaging young people must address discrimination against young people,” Fletcher writes. He goes on to explain some of his personal and professional experiences with this discrimination, also called adultism. Suggesting that, “We must transform society to engage all young people, everywhere, all the time,” Fletcher lays out the premise of the book by summarizing the world facing children and youth today.

In the first chapter, Fletcher describes the why discrimination against young people exists. Opening the chapter, he uses a classroom story leading to a youth who says, “They hate us because we’re young.” From there, he details the foundation of discrimination against young people by suggesting its grows from infanthood into childhood, young adulthood, parenthood, and old age. He then describes the paternalistic roots of discrimination against young people, which according to Fletcher are rooted in the ways adults perceive them. Describing several of these perceptions, he describes how adults see young people alternatively as products to be made, consumers of adult-driven society, tokens for adults’ self-satisfaction, and as adults-in-the-making. He also details how race, sexual orientation, socio-economic class, and other factors intersect with discrimination against young people.

Fletcher enters into Chapter 2 by demanding we call discrimination against young people what it is, which in a word is adultism. After exploring the essence of that term, he expands the readers’ understanding of the issue by examining different terms and how they relate to the issue. He then explores different age groupings throughout society, and explains how they’re related to understanding adultism. Finally, he recounts the terms by detailing how each of them is apparent through the lives of children and youth today.

In Chapter 3, Fletcher asks what is wrong with discrimination against young people, and proceeds to share many ways. Connecting the phenomenon of adults acting like youth to discrimination, he then expands on many ways adults undermine young people in everyday roles as parents, teachers, youth workers, counselors, and other positions. He shows how adults being over-permissive, well-meaning, over-controlling, indifferent, and hostile towards young people are all similarly disposed to discriminating against young people. Fletcher shows how these practices extend throughout life, and through formal and informal structures, have affected many generations. In order to illustrate systems that affect children and youth, he shows how schools, families, healthcare, the economy, nonprofits, cultural activities, and legal systems all discriminate against young people.

Chapter 4 addresses the causes of discrimination against young people. Both relying on and eschewing theories about human development, Fletcher explores how the differences between young people and adults inherently cause discrimination, as do the differences among children and youth themselves. He then details how obvious discrimination is, especially when young people discriminate against themselves; when adults promote it; when our culture promotes it; and when the structure of society forces it. Fletcher then suggests that not only is does every single adult discriminate against young people, he says it’s not always bad or wrong. He then says the challenge is to stop rationalizing it and start addressing it directly.

Continuing in his expose, Fletcher uses chapter 5 to detail how discrimination happens throughout society. Showing how adults routinely segregate children and youth from adults, Fletcher suggests this silences young people. He says the real risks facing young people aren’t addressed because of this silencing, then shows how different institutions throughout society are framed by discrimination against young people.

Chapter 6 closes the book by suggesting that all children, youth, and adults have a role in ending discrimination against young people. He shows how each person can challenge discrimination by sharing basic techniques. Exploring many of the reasons why discrimination against children and youth must end, he then suggests all actions must begin personally, and then focus on others. He ends the book with calls homes, schools, and nonprofits to the carpet specifically, challenging each with distinct explanations of what they can do.

The end of ENDING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST YOUNG PEOPLE includes a glossary of more than 25 terms, as well as a list of resources Fletcher recommends for readers to continue their self-study.

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

SoundOut Student Voice Curriculum by Adam Fletcher

SoundOut Student Voice Curriculum promo flyer

Order your copy of the SoundOut Student Voice Curriculum: Teaching Students to Change Schools today from!

This publication is also available for customization for your organization. Contact me to learn more.



A Unique Introduction to Youth Engagement by Adam Fletcher

A Unique Introduction to Youth Engagement by Adam Fletcher


Now available from Adam Fletcher, A Unique Introduction to Youth Engagement is a powerful guide to what youth engagement is, how it happens, and much more.

Fletcher dispels the myth that youth engagement is only about certain youth doing certain things. Instead, in his comprehensive understanding, its about the lives of all children and youth everyday. 

And it is absolutely FREE.





Ending Discrimination Against Young People by Adam Fletcher

SELL SHEET for Ending Discrimination Against Young People


In Fall 2013, Adam Fletcher published a new book exploring the ways children and youth are treated throughout society. Ending Discrimination Against Young People is available on and from select distributors.

Most books about young people begin with the idea that children and youth are less than adults, and then proceed to offer various techniques to make them grow up. In his analysis, Fletcher begins instead by asking, “Who are young people today, and what do they truly face?” What follows from that place is a new understanding of the way the world works today, and powerful ideas that can change homes, schools, government, and businesses right now.


  • Name: Ending Discrimination Against Young People
  • Author: Adam Fletcher
  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (August 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1492183822
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492183822
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 0.5 inches

Available at

Half sheet EDAYP

Press Kit

Review Quotes

“Having been an educator and working with youth for over 20 years, I have always considered myself an advocate for youth. This book really opened my eyes as to how deep rooted this discrimination is and how most of us don’t even give it a second thought. Anyone working with young people should absolutely read this book. It is an essential understanding for the change we wish to see in our education system today.”

—Donna Mikkelsen, founder of The Garden Road School, Crompond, NY

“Adam Fletcher provides an expert look at the revolutionary idea that youth endure, and are harmed by, pervasive age discrimination and supplies supportive advice on how young people and their adult allies can work against it in their daily lives. His perspective as an activist/youth worker/educator (pick whichever one you think is best), a father, and a former young person inform this excellent addition to the youth rights library.”

—Alex Koroknay-Palicz, former executive director of the National Youth Rights Association, Takoma Park, MD

“I loved it. The departure from the typical academic perspective combined with the invested wisdom brings it together well.”

— Jabreel Chisley, 18 year old virtual schooled student and community organizer, Institute for Democratic Education in America, Euclid, OH

“After reading this book, I have to believe youth discrimination is a part of everyone’s life. When you’re 20, you are an adult but society refuses to recognize you as one. That’s not fair, and its making our priorities messed up. This book makes me know I can do something about that!”

—Emily Richardson, young person, Omaha, NE

“This book was really eye-opening and left me with a lot to think about. Now that I understand what adultism is, I can see examples of it in my life and the world around me. I want to be a different kind of parent who gives my kids more appropriate choices.”

—Julian Apilado Lilienthal, mother of two, Deming, NM

“[Fletcher’s] fluid writing makes complicated realities easy to see. Now, I understand the role I have as a parent in youth discrimination. I’ll be a better parent and teacher for my daughters because of this book.”

Elizabeth Ahlstrom, homeschooling mother of four, Caroline, Alberta, Canada

Recent Press


Please send your review, blog, newsletter, or other press related to ENDING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST YOUNG PEOPLE to be listed here using this page. Thanks!


More Information

For more information, email or call (360) 489-9680. Order your copy.


Press Release: Youth Discrimination Is Tearing Society Apart!

Youth Discrimination Is Tearing Society Apart!

Olympia, WA—Every parent, teacher, and youth worker knows they aren’t as effective as they could be, but often aren’t sure why. Using willpower to force children and youth to comply, even the most well-meaning adult uses curfews, takes away toys, and bribes with rewards.

There’s hope. ENDING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST YOUNG PEOPLE, by internationally-recognized youth expert Adam Fletcher ($19.95, Createspace Publishing), uses powerful analysis and introduces language related youth discrimination to show readers where, how, and why this problem affects them every single day.

ENDING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST YOUNG PEOPLE details how society routinely discriminates against young people by forcing adult will, implementing rigid age-based policies, and encouraging negative attitudes towards children and youth. Diving deeply throughout communities, Fletcher exposes cultural assumptions and details structural systems that keep young voices from being heard. He also shows how social injustices such as racism, classism, and sexism are related to discriminating against the young.

“We don’t like to hear it, but every adult discriminates against young people,” Fletcher explains. “Understanding and accepting that reality is the really the first step to creating a more just and equitable society for all people.”

Like many parents and youth workers, Fletcher wondered for a long time why more young people weren’t powerfully, purposefully engaged throughout their own lives. After a decade training youth, Fletcher began to piece together the massive, society-wide patterns of discrimination against young people. When he began finding language throughout psychology, sociology, and youth work describing different parts of this discrimination, he saw a blanket literally smothering children and youth in every corner.

“All young people face these issues, and few people are actually talking about them,” Fletcher explains. “When adults begin to speak frankly about their inabilities to connect with kids, and when children and youth can speak openly, we discover this isn’t just theory; it is actually happening everywhere, all the time.”

ENDING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST YOUNG PEOPLE is the only modern book designed to explore this reality in depth. What better way to become a better parent, more effective teacher, or more positive role model than addressing your own biases?

With this book, Fletcher hopes adults will, “develop new perspectives of young people to open positive, powerful futures for all people, instead of just a few, so that instead of times getting impossibly hopeless, they show that another world is always possible.” 

Others are taking note of this book. Reviewing the book, Alex Koroknay-Palicz writes, “Fletcher provides an expert look at the revolutionary idea that youth endure, and are harmed by, pervasive age discrimination and supplies supportive advice on how young people and adults can work against it in their daily lives.” Koroknay-Palicz is the former executive director of the National Youth Rights Association. 

To set up an interview or to request a review copy, contact Adam Fletcher at 360.489.9680 or email 

by Adam Fletcher
ISBN-13 978-1492183822

190 pp. 
8 ½” x 5″
Available on or ask at your local bookstore.
Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Ending Discrimination Against Young People by Adam Fletcher

Here’s my new book, ENDING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST YOUNG PEOPLE. You can learn more here or order it from here.
Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Engage, Involve, Inspire, Motivate, and Activate Youth!

Do you want to engage, involve, inspire, motivate, or activate young people? Then order my book, The Freechild Project Youth-Driven Programming Guide!

Packed with useful activities, deep insights, practical tips, and other information and resources your need to move youth voice, youth engagement, youth leadership, and youth empowerment to the FRONT of your work with young people!

The book is meant for people who work with middle school and high school youth. If you work with traditional youth leaders, you’ll learn how to move that work forward. If you work with nontraditional youth leaders, you can learn how to engage them in positive, powerful activities that can change your program or organization.


  • The Freechild Project Youth-Driven Programming Guide
  • By Adam Fletcher
  • Price: $11.99
  • Order from or request the book from your local bookseller.

Reader Reviews

“The Youth-Driven Programming Guide is a must read for youth workers in all settings. Adam does a tremendous job of getting straight to the point with a clear message in a concise format that even the busiest of youth workers will be able to make time to read. We operate a Parks & Recreation related youth program that provides multiple youth after school program sites, late night events, a series of dances, and a Youth Commission. This guide is the newest required reading for all volunteers and staff within our program. 

—Paul Simmons, Parks and Recreation Director, Cheney, Washington

“I work with groups of young people in Preston, Lancashire, England to have a real voice in decision making in our Impact Youth Groups, co-working with young people training to be Youth Workers and my work in schools and justice projects. The book is an excellent informal education tool in planning your work young people, supporting the work you, developed with young people in a simple understanding education tool, creates fun in learning, while young people can be given a real voice with support, in their social education learning and decision making experiences.”

—Terry Mattinson, youth worker, Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Adam Fletcher’s Books on Sale!

My books are on sale at Amazon this weekend! Catch The Guide to Student Voice for only $11.39 – that’s 25% off! My The Freechild Project Youth-Driven Programming Guide is only $10 this weekend! It’s exciting to share these with you, and I hope you take time to order them right away. More coming soon!

Find all my publications, including more than a dozen for FREE, online at

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!