Sexual misconduct increases in schools

internet useStuff 6 January 2015
School leaders are blaming social media and a lack of parental supervision for the increasing numbers of primary school children being stood down from school for sexual misconduct.

Stand-downs for sexual misconduct in primary schools rose 31 per cent from 2000 to 2013, and in secondary schools they rose 21 per cent, Ministry of Education figures show.

Former Secondary Principals’ Association president Patrick Walsh says the way young boys treat girls, objectifying and sexualising them, has taken “a great leap backwards”.

“It’s a disturbing trend and it’s starting in primary schools.”

Primary school stand-downs for sexual misconduct had gone from 44 incidents in 2000 to 58 last year. Walsh said schools were not resourced to deal with the range of issues the advent of social media had brought on them.

“We’re at the point where principals are proposing that parents be prosecuted for parental negligence when they’re aware of the inappropriate and sexual behaviour going on with their children online, yet choose to do nothing about it.”

Call to prosecute parents over sexual images
3 News 6 January 2015  
Secondary principals grappling with the growing problem of sexual images being shared by students want parents held liable for their teens’ misconduct.

They also want police to have a more consistent approach to such activity when told about it by schools.

School is out for another three weeks, but when it restarts teens know it’s not just innocent holiday snaps that’ll be shared in the playground. The sharing of sexual images, what the kids know simply as “nudes”, is a growing issue in schools.

“It’s definitely on the rise,” says NetSafe executive director Martin Cocker. “You’re seeing kids who have got access to all the tools to capture and share this kind of content, and in the environment that they’re living in they’re seeing this kind of thing done all the time.”

With sexual images of anyone under 18 being illegal, and the victims, usually girls, often suffering lasting psychological damage, principals say one solution could be to prosecute negligent parents.


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