More than 700 children, some as young as five, have been temporarily excluded or expelled from English schools for ‘sexual misconduct’ including sexual assault, “lewd” behaviour, and watching pornography.
The figures, obtained via a freedom of information request by the Press Association, from 15 local school authorities found 754 children over a four-year period have been removed from school.
At least 40 cases involved school children under 10 (the age of criminal responsibility in the United Kingdom), seven of which were in their first year of school (aged five to six), reports The Guardian.
Incidents described as sexual misconduct include sexual assault, “lewd” behaviour, watching pornography, sharing indecent images on social media, bullying, and abuse.
Most incidents involved boys and the majority of exclusions were for a fixed period, meaning children could return to school. Fourteen-year-olds were most likely to be excluded for sexual misconduct.
A Department for Education (DfE) spokesman said of the findings: “Sexual assault of any kind is an offence and must always be reported to the police. Schools should be safe places and we issue safeguarding guidance to protect pupils’ welfare.
“As announced in March 2017, all primary schools will be required to teach relationships education and all secondary schools will have to teach relationships and sex education in the future.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 21, 2015
Breitbart London reported in February that the DfE’s sex and relationship lessons would be compulsory – even in private and religious schools – and taught to children as young as four.
However, a recent study suggests that teenage pregnancy rates have been reduced following government cuts to spending on sex education. Researchers say such programmes, and easy access to contraception, may have been “counterproductive” and increased risk-taking amongst teenagers.
In December last year, Breitbart London reported that 430 primary school children (aged five to 11) were suspended for “racist abuse”. The DfE stated the numbers only show that teachers have been more vigilant in reporting ‘racist incidents’ – not necessarily that such incidents have occurred in greater volume.
The United States has also seen instances of children punished disproportionately at school for alleged “sexual misconduct”.
In 2015, a 13-year-old boy from the state of Maryland was arrested for kissing a female classmate at his middle school, the boy telling police he sneaked the kiss on a dare.
In a widely publicised case from 2013, a six-year-old boy from Colorado was accused of “sexual harassment” and suspended after he kissed a girl – on the hand.