Officials in the Santa Rosa County School District contend the problem of students having sex at school has become “explosive” in recent years, with dozens as young as 11 years old forced to attend an alternative school for their on-campus sexcapades.
In 2018-19, the Florida district disciplined 23 students for sexual offenses at school and that number is at 18 so far for 2019-20, with nearly four months left in the school year, The Pensacola News Journal reports.
“We’ve had students who are having sex during school hours, we’ve had them have sex after hours on school campus, we’ve had them in buses after school and before school,” Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick told the news site.
“We’ve had multiple counts of oral sex and inappropriate touching that could become or lead to sexual behavior,” he said. “We’ve had students use social media in a very inappropriate way, like by taking pictures of body parts and sending that out to multiple people.
“It’s all over the place,” Wyrosdick said. “But the severity of it, the number of children having sex on campus is huge, and it’s growing.”
School officials blame social media and parents.
“Parents tell us that they’re locking down their child, whether it’s the use of their cellphones, where they are or who they’re with,” Wyrosdick said. “They’re prohibiting these people from coming together to have sex outside of school hours, so students are telling us that the only time they can have sex is during school on campus.”
Wyrosdick contends school staff watch students closely, but “if a student is intentional enough to subvert that supervision, they can do it.”
“This is my opinion, I have no data. But I think you’re seeing students who were exposed through social media and through entertainment to much more promiscuous movies, YouTube, you name it,” Wyrosdick said. “That explains part of what I believe is this inappropriate behavior.”
Punishments for students caught in the act vary from transferring them to the district’s alternative school, The Learning Academy, to expulsion, depending on the situation, he explained.
Each month, the superintendent lists students recommended for expulsion for board members, who are growing frustrated with officials’ seeming inability to put a stop to the problem, Gulf Breeze News reports.
“It is concerning to me that we continue to see a number of sexual offenses resulting in alternative placements,” board chair Buddy Hinote told Wyrosdick last month. “I know you and the administrators at the schools have been working on this problem. I hope something can be done soon.”
The superintendent offered only platitudes with no concrete solutions.
“We, as staff, are looking at this as to how we can bring both awareness of the issues, as well as education on consequences that are centered around these types of behaviors,” he said. “I think education is huge, obviously.
The plan, for now, seems to be to educate parents – ironically the only ones who are keeping kids in line.
“ … We’ve got to get our message to moms and dads a lot more effectively,” Wyrosdick told the school board. “Moms and dads are telling us in many cases that school is the place that students will conduct these behaviors because they’re so controlled and accounted for in other areas regarding their behavior.
“It is exploding, it really is exploding,” he said. “And we’ve got to deal with it.”