The UK government has issued advice to teachers in England, urging them not to engage in discussions about social media influencer Andrew Tate, known for his toxic masculinity and misogynistic views, with their students.
This recommendation comes despite reports of an alarming increase in misogyny and sexual harassment among boys as young as nine in schools.
Diversify Charity Raises Alarm Over Misogynistic Incidents
Diversify, a small charity based in Rotherham that conducts workshops on inclusion in schools, receives approximately 25 calls per week from primary and secondary schools across England seeking assistance in addressing sexual harassment and misogynistic incidents.
Many of these schools attribute the influence of Andrew Tate, who is currently under house arrest in Romania on suspicion of human trafficking and organized crime.
Tate’s TikTok videos perpetuate harmful messages, such as considering women as possessions of their boyfriends, labeling girls who don’t stay at home as “hoes,” and placing responsibility on rape victims for their assaults.
Sara Cunningham, co-founder of Diversify, estimates that in an average class of 30 children, around eight boys admire Tate.
She expresses frustration that the Department for Education (DfE) has been advising school leaders who seek help not to encourage discussions about Tate’s views in personal, social, and health education (PSHE) lessons.
Furthermore, the DfE refuses to offer any training or resources related to the issue.
Incidents of sexual harassment and misogyny linked to Tate’s influence have been reported, such as a case where four nine-year-old boys locked a girl in a cupboard, made threats, and exposed her to explicit content.
Despite the severity of these incidents, some schools receive no response when reporting them to local child safeguarding authorities.
Impact on Students and Need for Open Communication
Teachers who have engaged with Diversify and tackled the issue of Andrew Tate’s influence have noticed alarming attitudes among male students.
One teacher shares how a male student justified harassment by saying that not accepting a girl’s rejection demonstrates weakness, echoing Tate’s views.
The lack of available resources and support from the DfE on addressing this issue is a cause for concern among educators.
The reluctance to discuss Tate’s influence is particularly problematic as it leaves young people vulnerable to his harmful ideas and prevents them from recognizing the extreme nature of these views.
It also becomes challenging for schools to address misogyny when some boys express that their fathers hold positive opinions of Tate.
Government’s Response and Commitment to Addressing Sexual Harassment
While the government claims that it expects schools to take swift action against sexual misconduct or harassment, critics argue that not discussing the issue leaves children at risk and perpetuates dangerous ideologies.
Some teachers have taken matters into their own hands, offering to share their PSHE teaching resources on Tate to address the issue directly.
The Labour Party, led by Keir Starmer, has pledged to include lessons on treating women and girls with respect in the school curriculum as part of their plan to reduce violence against women.
It remains to be seen how the government will respond to the growing concerns regarding Andrew Tate’s influence and the urgent need to address misogyny and sexual harassment in schools effectively.