teachers - what is normal sexual behaviour in a child?(41 Posts)
Our school is like every other, mostly lovely staff, mostly lovely families.
There is one child who has significant behavioural needs, my understanding is that he has a statement, but, it's certainly both none of my business, nor relevant what his diagnosis is.
The boy (X) is 9. Last year I had a problem because he was groping my 10 year old's crotch, kissing girls against their will and humping them in queues. The school didn't deal with it particularly well at first - but, they did (after I patiently explained that if they couldn't protect my daughter against sexual assault on their premises that it would become a police matter) sort it out.
X was given more TA time, was only allowed out for supervised playtimes and, that seemed to work - there were fewer aggressive episodes and he's now out playing freely again.
Last month X was making "blow job signs" (you know what I mean, pushing his tongue in and out of his cheek with his hand at his face) at my son, both in class and in the playground. X usually pulls my son's hair and kicks him in lines, but, this is new. To be fair, X consistently lashes out, it's not that my kids are being targeted.
Last week, X pulled down my friend's son's trousers, in the line, in front of everyone, laughed at the boy's willy and touched it, like, he was tickling it. From what my son reported, seemed the purpose was to humiliate the other child.
This wee boy is 9 years old, and, clearly, knows an awful lot more about sex than my 9 year old does.
School are quick to minimise his behaviour, possibly because he has so many behavioural issues (lots of aggression and stealing) and, I expect they are plagued with parents complaining that "he did this, he said that, why aren't you...?"
Would you say these types of sexual behaviour are age appropriate?
I guess I'm looking for reassurance that if there is a child protection issue, that, school will have spotted it long before I thought "oh, now, that's a bit peculiar for a 9 year old".
it isn't normal.
he knows too much
I am not a teacher but am involved in safeguarding children in a professional capacity. I would say this behaviour is totally inappropriate, the school don't sound like they are doing enough to safeguard both X and the other children. For your dd to have actually had her crotch groped makes me feel very sad. If that had happened to my dd I think I would have involved the police / social services already.
I hope the school is supporting the little boy who had his trousers pulled down and was touched? Did the boy's parents involve the police?
The school should be referring X to social services. This has totally crossed the line.
He may not actually "know" anything - he may be aping the actions of adults around him without actually understanding what they mean (eg blow job thing).
However, I agree that his behaviour is totally inappropriate. I would escalate the issue immedately, via governors, LA, police, or whoever would listen.
Could you take the inititative and get other parents together to write a formal complaint? Maybe give the school a date by which you want something done before you collectively withdraw your children from the school?
I would NOT allow my children to associate with a child exhibiting overtly sexula behaviour, no matter how old that person is. What is the school telling the children? How do they explain what the actions the boy is doing mean?
I suspect the school are very aware that this is not age appropriate behaviour and may already be doing lots of things behind the scene that you are unaware of.
I agree with others that it will be helpful to go into school to discuss how they are going to safeguard the other children.
It's got to be a strong possibility that the child is being sexually abused in some way and his behaviour a not uncommon reaction to a totally shit situation. In this context, starting a public campaign against the child is pretty unkind, IMO. This does not negate the school's responsibility to ensure that others are safe.
Yep, thanks, for those thoughts. It is odd, isn't it?
My impression is that school are minimising everything about X. Which may be because there's stuff in place, of course.
The stuff that happened with my daughter had been going on a month before she told me - she wasn't upset, just indignant. She said she'd told TAs in the playground, but, nothing was done. So, I told her that if he did it again that she was to grab his wrist, squeeze it really hard, so it hurt, and scream in his face to stop touching her.
HT said "well, you must understand we can't condone that sort of behaviour from her, and if she retaliated in that way we'd have to discipline her"
I dont' think the HT meant what she actually said, but, their attitude is definitely to dismiss parent's concerns. The mother of the wee, embarrassed boy was told "this is just boys being boys".
She's considering going to the police, partly because she knows this isnt' the first time X has behaved like this and mostly because the school can't give her a bullying policy because "it's not finished yet" and she's very cross and wants to make life difficult for the HT who's not taking her concerns seriously.
I think this link, although from Australia, explains very clearly age appropriate v inappropriate behaviours using a traffic light system. Be warned the red list, which comes first, is upsetting to read.
Take some time to read it through, but it looks to me from my brief look that what you've described shows he's already engaged in 'orange' behaviours, bordering or possibly escalating into red (I think escalating because pulling someone's trousers down and touching exposed genitalia seems a step further than grabbing through clothing).
You can also read similar, but less comprehensive information, from the NSPCC.
Social services may already be involved, however given that he is still managing to engage in these behaviours more needs to be done, both to protect him as well as the other children.
I am a childminder with safeguarding training and I would find this sort of behaviour instantly concerning. What is even worse is that the Head does not appear to be on the ball with it at all - victim blaming both your daughter and your friend's son is just appalling. I would be on to Ofsted, the chair of governors and the police to get something done. The longer the boy gets no help, the more damaged he will end up - as will those around him.... Sad situation.
The other possible route to getting some help is through the school nurses.
The point runout makes above about victim blaming is very good - what does it teach the other children in the school if this is allowed to continue. X needs to get help in a sensitive and totally professional way. The school seem utterly useless at dealing with this matter and are not fulfilling its duty of care towards X or the other children. Very sad.
Obviously we don't know the child's background but as a teacher I would have raised this as a child protection issue (although it might well have already been) and be keeping a record of any issues I was aware of. As you say children don't always report these behaviours so I'd also do some basic work with them on the "underpants rule" of what should be private and what to do if someone does something that makes you uncomfortable. Children shouldn't be allowed to think this is normal behaviour.
The school has to include him and are probably aware of greater reasons why he is behaving in this manner but he clearly needs help and support. The other children need to be protected too and so a plan needs to be put in place. How much of this would be shared with other parents though I don't know.
Never had to deal with anything as extreme as this, thankfully, but have had situations of children showing their bits to each other and a very young boy forcibly kissing girls (and pinning them down to do so). All of which was reported and behviour monitored.
So, if we assume that the teachers are on the ball and there's far more going on than appears to parents at the school gate - well, if I say "HT, have you reported this as a child protection issue?" she'll send me off with a flea in my ear if she has because it's none of my business, and, she'll send me off with a flea in my ear if she hasn't because she's not keen on being critisised.
There is a lack of protection for the other kids. X quite regularly assaults them, been a couple of serious incidents.
It's difficult to address - don't want to make life more difficult for a small boy with ishoos. But, equally, there's quite a lot of things that are very unsettling. Not least the "oh, don't worry about it" responses to parents of other kids.
I've worked in schools with children from very difficult backgrounds giving them severe behavioural problems.
The 'blowjob sign' most of them would have known because their parents didn't know what was appropriate behaviour/ language in front of children.
The groping/ humping/ touching I haven't actually seen yet. At all. If I did I think I'd be very concerned.
Please don't loose sight of the fact that children displaying inappropriate sexual behaviour often need protecting from abuse that they themselves are suffering - a call to social services could protect this lad himself, as well as the children on the receiving end of his behaviour.
The minimising tone of the HT concerns me and I've previously worked for many years as part of various social care teams and think this is something they need alerting about.
You should send your concerns in a letter to the HT, then he/she would have no excuse in the future for not acting earlier. I think in this case, the HT should contact the SS. It's likely this poor lad is watching porn at home.
Hmmm - it sounds like the ht is out of their depth. The minimising and dismissing is just crap. Anyone can call social services to flag concerns and so don't wait for the head to do it! I would also advise anyone who's child is sexually assaulted to also involve the police. I am sad and angry in equal measure if a school can't prevent sexual assaults happening then something needs to be done.
This sexual behaviours traffic light tool from Brook is useful www.brook.org.uk/old/index.php/traffic-lights
no it isn't normal.
2 things the school SHOULD be doing and appear to be failing on.
first (IMO it is first anyway) is protecting the other children from the behaviour, whatever the reason, whether it is a response to abuse/seeing things he shouldn't or whatever HE is the one currently behaving inappropriately and the other children MUST be protected from this in whatever way is necessary.
second they need to flag up with social services/child protection/whoever what the situation is with this child.
Obviously he is too young to in many ways be held responsible for all his behaviour in that it must be a reaction to something as children aren't born with these thoughts BUT having said that it is not fair to expect other children to suffer because he has been exposed to something inappropriate and it is very important his behaviour is dealt with straight away.
I spoke to someone I know who works in the paeds mental health team. She's pretty shocked too.
So, I'll ask for a meeting with the HT and speak frankly about my worries and ask her what she's done/is doing.
I'm hopeful that there are things going on that I am unaware of. And, I agree, this wee boy is the one who is vulnerable - apart from anything else everyone assumes that he's at the root of whatever trouble's going on in the school.
I'll ask for a meeting with the HT and speak frankly about my worries and ask her what she's done/is doing
I would suggest that after the meeting you send a letter or email confirming what you discussed in the meeting and any actions that you both agreed would be taken, then ask the HT to let you know if they disagree with anything. Always better to have things like this in writing I think.
Personally i would escalate this. School is not outside the law, primary age children are being sexually assaulted and the victim blamed and minimised.
Do not allow this to be swept under the rug.
Involve the police, this boys family will be investigated, he will be given professional support to not grow up into an abuser and the cycle if a use he is perpetuating into other children will be broken.
As a victim of child sexual abuse who has absorbed countless peoples personal experiences I beg you do not let this drop!
If you don't think the HT is taking this seriously then you could ring social services yourself. That behaviour is completely inappropriate for a 9 year old and quite disturbing.
FWIW my son's old HT referred us to social services last year because he kept touching his LSA's breast. He was 8 at the time and he has ASD and had a full time 1:1 statement. We had a meeting with everyone who was involved in his care and it was felt that the touching was nothing more than curiosity and lack of awareness on his part so nothing came of it. Me and the SENCO worked together to make DS aware of where he could and couldn't touch people and equally where they could and couldn't touch him.
If there is nothing in it then there is no harm done by speaking to social services. Even if the boy is behaving like this through lack of awareness then it still needs addressing because it's putting him and the other kids at risk of harm. They need to work with the child so he is aware of what is appropriate.
When you write to the HT you should also copy it to the Chairman of Governors. If you can, you should make a note of dates and actions that your child has observed- you can't press ahead with this on 'rumour' but need real evidence, including that of other parents.
The school is failing in its duty to protect the children under its care. I would report the the assaults your daughter has been a victim of and anything else you have witnessed to the police and encourage other parents to do the same.
Friend in paeds MH reported it to social services. Am relieved, at least she knows what the system is.
Thakns for the support.
Join the discussion
Please login first.