Worry at exclusions for sexual bullying

WORRYING government figures today revealed that 46 pupils had been expelled for sexual bullying in Suffolk's schools.

WORRYING government figures today revealed that 46 pupils had been expelled for sexual bullying in Suffolk's schools.

Statistics from the Department for Children, Schools and Families show that the students were given fixed term exclusions from the county's classrooms for sexual misconduct in the academic year 2006/07.

Of the 46, 12 were from primary schools.

Nationally, 3,500 pupils in England were given temporary exclusions during the same period.

Sexual misconduct can cover a range of behaviours from a one-off incident of daubing sexually-explicit graffiti on a wall to name-calling, inappropriate touching and serious sexual attacks.

Rosalind Turner, the county council's director for children and young people said the issue was being treated seriously in Suffolk.

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“In the sex and relationships education curriculum, it is expected that issues around what is appropriate behaviour, sexual harassment and bullying is addressed,” she said.

“Understanding what is meant by these terms, although important, is not the whole picture.

“It is expected that schools will provide the opportunities for young people to develop skills to enable them to negotiate and to be assertive without being aggressive in order to promote their personal safety.

“Knowing how to access help and support, and having the confidence to do so, are important skills for all our children and young people.

“The local authority encourages schools to support pupils in this respect and their performance is regularly assessed by Ofsted.”

The figures have come to light after Children's Secretary Ed Balls asked the Anti Bullying Alliance to draw up guidance for teachers on tackling sexual bullying.

The guidance will tackle inappropriate language, advise teachers on how to manage cases of harassment, and encourage healthy friendships between teenage boys and girls amid concerns of misogynistic attitudes linked to gang culture.

Have you been affected by bullying? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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