Hundreds of student-on-student sexual offenses, harassment reported in South Florida schools

(WSVN) - We’ve all heard sickening stories of teachers having sex with students, but what about when sexual abuse at school is committed by another child? 7’s Brian Entin investigates, and a warning – you may find the details of this report disturbing.

They won’t show up on a computer search of sex offenders, but they are out there, and they are dangerous.

They are students sexually harassing or committing sex offenses against other students, and it’s not just happening in high schools, these are kids in middle, even elementary, schools, and parents need to be alert.

Parent 1: “It’s unacceptable. If it’s unacceptable for an adult, it’s damn sure unacceptable for another child to do it to another child.”

Parent 2: “It’s a big deal in the school, especially in the school.”

School districts are required to report sexual misconduct to the Florida Department of Education, and 132 sexual incidents were reported in Miami-Dade for the 2015-2016 school year.

In Broward that number is 480 — the second highest of any county in the state.

James DePelisi, Broward County Crime Commission: “We’re certainly not talking about playing doctor or nurse here, I mean, some of these, if you’ve looked at the reports, are indescribable, and most people would have to turn their head away.”

Reports of kids exposing themselves, groping other kids and worse.

In a Miami-Dade elementary school, a fifth-grade student admitted he touched two kindergarten girls in the cafeteria: “…he offered them cookies while he touched them.”

A middle school student said her friend told her a male student “…grabbed her hair, pulled her down to her knees and made her perform oral sex.”

In a Broward elementary school bathroom, a student was heard asking, “are you ready to get raped?”

Also in Broward, a male middle school student reportedly “…pulled a young lady into the girls restroom stall against her will … grabbed her breast … then pulled her pants down and touched her…”

Maria Schneider, Broward State Attorney’s Office: “I think that inappropriate sexual behavior has always existed, I do believe that we may have an increase because of the exposure at a very early age.”

Broward prosecutor Maria Schneider says some sexual aggressors are victims of abuse themselves and others are exposed to sexual material on cellphones and computers.

But what is so shocking is that very young children are committing horrible crimes.

Maria Schneider: “I believe it was a 10 and an 11-year-old – a number of years ago, in an elementary school – who forced another child about the same age into a bathroom stall and proceeded to rape her.”

Schneider, who heads the juvenile unit of the State Attorney’s Office says parents need to talk to their kids.

Maria Schneider: “You run the risk that your child might either not know that something is inappropriate or may not know to tell you about it.”

Miami-Dade Schools tells us they’ve seen an overall decrease in the total number of sexual incidents over the last four years. Broward Schools say they do everything they can to keep students safe, and they involve law enforcement when necessary.

Parents — if you want to check the number of incidents at your child’s school, we’ve got a link to the state data below this story.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Florida Department of Education
Statewide Report on School Safety and Discipline Data

CONTACT 7INVESTIGATES:
305-627-CLUE
954-921-CLUE
clue@wsvn.com

Copyright 2017 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.