Schools data reveals sex incidents
Schools data reveals sex incidents

More than 100 incidents of students displaying sexualised behaviour towards other children or using pornography at school have been reported in WA public schools in the past two years, Education Department figures have revealed.

Data from the department's online incident notification system, which principals use to alert head office of critical incidents that may affect the running of a school, shows that 117 reports were made about students involved in sexual behaviour.

Those reports make up 2.6 per cent of more than 4422 school incidents recorded across 15 categories in 2012 and last year.

The department said though the ages of students reported for sexual allegations varied, some incidents involved very young children who were unlikely to understand the meaning or implication of their actions.

The data also shows that more than 2000 school incident reports - almost half all notifications - were for physical assaults including students scratching, punching, shoving, kicking and serious assaults, which required police involvement.

The next biggest category was for verbal abuse or threats, with 702 reports of students or parents swearing or threatening to harm students or teachers.

Accidents leading to injuries were the subject of 553 reports and there were 200 reports of students threatening self-harm or suicide. Principals notified the department of 220 incidents of intruders on school grounds and 201 medical emergencies.

Suspicious, hazardous or illegal objects such as knives, syringes, bullets or drugs featured in 55 reports.

The department warned that care should be taken when interpreting the data because the nature of incidents recorded varied from school to school.

Education director-general Sharyn O'Neill said the figures should be considered in context because there were more than 800 public schools which were generally safe and positive places.

The West Australian

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