You know how when you're a kid, adults always tell you that you'll understand things when you're older? Well, I never accepted the "respect your elders" rule when I was younger. I didn't accept the fact that people older than me deserved more respect than me because they were older. Sometimes when I said outright that I did not respect my elders, I was told that I would understand when I was older. Well you know something? I do understand now that I'm older - I understand that this mentality is even more fucked-up than I thought it was when I was younger.
If a young child says something insulting to me, or even hits me, it's just not going to have much of an impact on me. But if I were to do the same thing to the child, it's going to have much more of an impact on them. The child would be punished for being disrespectful to me no matter what I had done to them first, but I could get away with being disrespectful to them as long as I say that they weren't behaving the way I wanted them to, even though I would be hurting the child a lot more than they would be hurting me. This is fucked up. My hurting the child should be way worse than them hurting me because the child is going to be hurt much more than I am. I'm not saying that it's "okay" for children to be disrespectful to adults, but it should not be *worse* than adults being disrespectful to children, or people being disrespectful to their peers. The fact that it's somehow more disrespectful to hit a teacher than a classmate is extremely disrespectful to children. We all need to be careful how we treat people who have less power than us, not more.