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Levels of "sexual misconduct" by North Yorkshire pupils among highest in England
NORTH Yorkshire has some of the highest levels of children excluded from school for sexual misconduct in schools in England, figures indicate.
Between January 2010 and September 2013 there were at least 124 incidents of a child being excluded from school for being involved in a sexual act – the fifth highest number in England.
The vague term “sexual misconduct” is used to describe incidents from graffiti to serious offending, such as sexual abuse and using pornography in school.
According to figures released to the Press Association under the Freedom of Information Act, the youngest child to be excluded was at least one boy in year two in 2012, when pupils are aged from six to seven-years-old.
At least six primary school boys, five secondary school girls and 112 secondary school boys have been given fixed term exclusions.
There have been fewer than five permanent exclusions in North Yorkshire for sexual misconduct.
A spokeswoman for North Yorkshire County Council said it “takes the issue of sexual misconduct among children and young people in schools very seriously” which had meant numbers of incidents had dropped.
She said: “Figures reported in 2013 are less than half of what they were in 2010. However, data of this nature may not be closely comparable, with local authorities using very different systems for the collation of such incidents.”
According to the figures, the region has the fifth highest numbers of incidents recorded in England after Brent, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Suffolk. Where children could be identified, local authorities have been cautious about releasing any specific details.
Across England, children as young as five have been excluded from school for sexual misconduct ranging from abuse, harassment and bullying to “sexting” inappropriate images of themselves and watching pornography.
Child welfare charities and politicians described the figures as “extremely concerning” and called on the Government to clamp down on the ease with which children can access internet pornography, and to implement a “robust” sex education programme.
Jon Brown, head of tackling child sexual abuse at the NSPCC, said: “The extent of sexual harassment, inappropriate sexual behaviour and in the worst cases violence by children is extremely concerning.”
The large majority of incidents concerned boys, with only nine per cent involving girls.
Former children’s television presenter and Lib Dem peer, Baroness Benjamin, said she was not surprised by the data. She said: “I believe one of the main contributory factors is children being exposed to pornographic online material which is easily available on the internet, and they are emulating what they see.”
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