Other Year 6 boys also began directing their attention to the girls.Unfortunately, their approach was less refined

3rd March 2006 at 00:00
Being in love is one of life's pleasures and, as usual, it all started innocently enough. Mejrid and Cerice are in the same maths group, and Cerice, kind soul, lent Mejrid her calculator. Impressed, Mejrid lent her his colouring pencils. Things moved rapidly, and soon Mejrid was passing notes expressing his affection and spending much of his dinner hour chasing Cerice around the playground. Finding himself financially embarrassed on the day of our St Valentine's cake sale, he persuaded me to lend him 25p so that he could buy her a little cake with a heart on top. So far, so innocent.

Other Year 6 boys, impressed by Mejrid's infatuation, also began directing their attention to the girls. Unfortunately, their approach was less refined. Huddling in packs by the boiler house wall like teenage boys at their first dance, they suddenly swarmed towards the girls, their hands raised as they pretended to smack them across the bottom. The girls squealed and ran away until, breathless, they regrouped by the water fountain and then made faces at the boys, whereupon the whole cycle started again.

Next morning, Mrs Brown asked to see me. She was very concerned about the inappropriate sexual behaviour her daughter was experiencing, and that wasn't what she sent her to school for. Several boys, and Beyjou in particular, had been dancing around the girls in a disgraceful sexual manner and her daughter had been extremely distressed by it. I was taken aback, since Andrea had been prominent in the goading of the boys, but I listened, pointing out that I always spent the last 15 minutes of the lunch hour in the junior playground, and that I hadn't seen anything that had given me cause for concern. I also remembered that Andrea was extremely skilled at winding her mother up. It wasn't the first time Mrs Brown had stormed into school.

"I've told Andrea to let me know if Beyjou comes anywhere near her today,"

she concluded. "And if he does, I'll fucking kill him."

Later that morning, a delegation of three mothers appeared, demanding that I do something or they would go to the police. "Do something about what?" I asked. "Sex games," said Mrs Stern. "Mrs Brown says they're rubbing themselves up against each other. My husband is disgusted." The others nodded. Presumably their husbands were wallowing in disgust, too. When they'd gone, I warned the lunchtime helpers to keep a close watch.

Early Thursday morning, at whistle time, I glanced out of my window. Mrs Stern was berating a crowd of older boys, wagging her finger at them. Then, she stalked across the playground and shouted at Beyjou's father, who was standing quietly with his son waiting for the whistle. Other parents became animated, and the teacher on duty motioned Mrs Stern towards my room. I sighed inwardly as she hurtled along the corridor.

"I wasn't making any trouble," she protested. "I was just telling the boys to keep away from our girls. I told them if they want a bum to slap they can come and slap mine, and see where that gets them..."

By 9.30 I had the whole of Year 6 in the hall, pointing out that new, inoffensive games had to be found, or my hair would drop out from the stress of it all. At 10, Mrs Brown was back in my room.

"I know what it is," she said triumphantly. "It's because they've started swimming on Tuesday mornings. They see each other's lumps and bumps. You'll have to take swimming off the curriculum..." Of course, the children aren't a concern. It's their parents we need to worry about.

Mike Kent is head of Comber Grove primary, London borough of Southwark.

Email: mikejkent@aol.com

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