Pointing their finger at the easy access children have to pornography on the Internet, schools are now facing an ever-growing problem of sexual harassment among students and teachers.
Education and parenting experts are being approached by high schools to deal with the behaviour, which includes sex-based taunts, explicit text messages and even physical assault.
Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research figures show that 68 sexual assaults and 265 indecent assaults or other sexual offences occurred on school grounds in the year September 2009.
Dannielle Miller from Enlighten Education, who works with adolescent girls, said sexual harassment in schools was on the rise but many had not grasped the seriousness of it.
"We are on the brink of a disturbing new reality here - boys are being exposed to a pornification of our culture in music, on TV, in films and on the net," the Daily Telegraph quoted Miller as saying.
In one of the worst incidents, a Year 9 girl stood up in class to get a textbook when a boy lifted up her skirt and started taunting her.
"She began crying but managed to compose herself and sit down and another boy reached into her blouse to try to rip her bra off," Miller revealed.
"The school's response was to give the boys detention. Given the same school gives detention for failing to do homework, this was an offensively weak punishment.
"The boys received no counselling on why what they had done was wrong," she said.
It was only when the girl's incensed father complained that a criminal offence had been committed that the school suspended the boys and called in their parents. The victim eventually received an apology.
Miller said one school told her boys' sexual comments and attitudes towards female teachers had become so problematic that they needed to take action.
"They asked me for ways to help their female staff become more resilient to sex-based harassment. Plenty of schools don't have policies to deal with this," she said. (ANI)
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