Schoolgirls as young as 13 who need to walk through a “managed approach” red light area in Leeds are being regularly propositioned by kerb-crawlers.
The headteacher of The Ruth Gorse Academy in Black Bull Street, Leeds, Ben Mallinson, is calling for the closing of the tolerance zone, saying he is “gravely worried” that a pupil might be harmed.
One student told reporters that a man approached her and asked if she was “open for business.”
“She told the BBC:” I was 13 and was heading to school wearing my school uniform.
“I barely got down the street and a man asked me if I was a prostitute, and I was confronted.”
She added: “I was asked by sex workers if I was one of them and on another occasion I was walking back from school.”
“It would definitely happen to other kids just as it happened to me and it will continue to happen as long as the zone is there.”
Another young Academy girl claims that a man attempted to catch her as she walked along one of the streets of the Red Light Zone.
“Because I was alone and it was dark, I was really afraid,” she said.
“He just said, ‘I like you,’ and I walked faster and he began to walk faster.”
The region is riddled with drug paraphernalia and discarded condoms, Mr. Mallinson said.
He said: “There has been extensive evidence of drug and alcohol abuse and experience that the mental health and well-being of a young person takes its toll every day.”
“Students should be free of harm and able to travel to and from school without worrying about their own and their peers’ safety.”