Five fifth-graders in the US state of Louisiana have been arrested today after an investigation into allegations that students had sex in an unsupervised classroom, with other classmates present.
"After 44 years of doing this work, nothing shocks me anymore," Union Parish Sheriff Bob Buckley said. "But this comes pretty close."
The alleged incident took place March 27, at the Spearsville school in rural north Louisiana.
Four students - two 11-year-old girls, a 12-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy - were arrested on charges of obscenity, a felony. An 11-year-old boy who was the alleged lookout was charged with being an accessory after the fact, Buckley said.
The class was inadvertently left unattended while the teacher attended a meeting, Buckley said.
"It's not clear how long they were left alone but speculation is that it was about 15 minutes," Buckley said. "When no teacher showed up, the four began to have sex in the classroom with the other elementary students in the classroom with them."
The students, who were not identified because of their age, were released to their parents after their arrests because the parish has no juvenile holding facility, Buckley said.
"I'm sure they're like everybody else up here, shocked that children that age would be indulging in sex acts, especially with witnesses," Buckley said.
"Children now are subjected to sex in music and movies these days. They are certainly are a lot more knowledgeable now."
Buckley said it was unclear what a juvenile would face in penalties. For adults, conviction on obscenity in the presence of someone under 17 carries a $US10,000 ($A12,260) fine and from two to five years in prison.
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