To explore issues related to sexual harassment
To explore issues related to sexual harassment.
Evidence and reflection
Set out below are descriptive statements indicating incidents based on real events that have occurred in schools. These statements are grouped according to who is involved: children only; adults and children; adults only.
Consider the incidents described briefly here and discuss whether in your view any of them constitute sexual harassment. You might like to have to hand any definitions you can find for this term taken from dictionaries and policy documents. You could get together with a large group of staff for this discussion, in which case you will be able to cover all groups or, for a smaller group, you could instead select one or two.
- A group of boys in the playground are attempting to lift girls' skirts.
- A year 6 class is changing for PE. The boys are pointing and making fun of a girl with developing breasts.
- At playtime a group of girls keep running in and out of the boys toilets
- A boy who is not good at football is called a 'wimp' and a 'poofter' by boys and girls.
- Male head teacher to young female member of staff in short skirt, "I bet your boyfriend appreciates that skirt".
- At parents' evening a father of a child says to the teacher, "if I'd had a teacher who looked like you when I was at school I wouldn't have had any trouble learning".
- A female teacher is lining up the children in the playground and school maintenance worker (male) whistles at her.
- A male a caretaker blocks the way in a narrow corridor so that a female teacher has to squeeze past.
- Adults and children
- An eight year old girl says to a student teacher, "Sir, my friend says she loves you (giggles) ".
- A female deputy head enters the boys' toilet in pursuit of an offender who saw the place as a sanctuary from female authority.
- A male deputy enters the girls’ toilet in pursuit of an offender who saw the place as a sanctuary from male authority.
- Year 6 boy kisses a female teacher when presenting a gift from the whole class.
Were you able to achieve consensus? Where were the major areas of discussion? Have you any examples from your own experience you could offer for discussion?
If you feel action is appropriate in any of these incidents, what would it be?
Children's awareness of sexuality - their own and others' - is an aspect of primary school life which is not much discussed or researched. Do your observations of children suggest that they are sexually aware? What is your reaction to this? Discuss with a colleague what view a primary school might take of this aspect of childhood.