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On the naughty step - Conduct that deserves a ticking off

This week: Melanie Phillips

TES does not take kindly to people who suggest that sex education teachers are one cause of child abuse. Some teachers have received death threats for daring to teach the subject, simply because a few knuckle-dragging right-wingers believe that anyone who dares explain reproduction to a kid "must be a paedo".

Unfortunately, certain better-educated public figures seem to share this suspicion. Last year it was family values campaigner Lynette Burrows, who told the BBC that she thought sex education was "reminiscent of paedophilia".

This week it was the turn of writer Melanie Phillips (pictured), who included teachers on her list of liberals she felt were to blame for the Jimmy Savile scandal. "Sex education in schools promotes all kinds of sexual activity, even to primary school children," she wrote in the Daily Mail. "No one listens to protests that such programmes rob young children of their childhood."

So, apparently, today's teachers are part of the reason for "the culture of permissiveness that gave a green light to depravity". Never mind that the allegations of abuse by Savile date all the way back to 1959, before most of today's teachers were even born.

Teachers may also find it ironic to be accused of causing the sexualisation of childhood in a column that appeared on the Daily Mail website, home to a surprising number of photos of famous underage girls "looking all grown up".

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