TEENAGERS walked out of their classes in protest, refusing to take part in lessons.

The Year 9 pupils at Cardinal Newman Catholic School held the spontaneous demonstration in solidarity with Reclaim the Streets protests across the country, sparked by the death of Sarah Everard.

The defiant playing field sit-in comes as a senior police officer told The Times that a task force has taken charge of a surge in abuse complaints in schools across the country.

Teachers joined the group, who were mainly girls aged 13 and 14, to hear what they had to say. The school in Dyke Road, Hove, sent an email home to parents to say it was “listening to our student voices”.

The Argus: Cardinal Newman Catholic SchoolCardinal Newman Catholic School

A spokeswoman for Cardinal Newman said similar vigils were organised by other year groups last week, however Monday’s protest was more “spontaneous”.

“Students took it in turns to share their experiences,” she said.

“They shared stories about the harassment they have received, mainly from outside the school.

“School councillors were present and ready to follow up.

“We are listening and learning” she added.

The school has launched student surveys in a bid to tackle potential issues and help pupils feel safer.

An email home to parents from principle Claire Jarman read: “A number of students are involved in an anti-sexism/reclaim the streets protest in school today, now sitting on the front field overseen by staff.

“We have taken the decision to allow this peaceful protest today but it does mean that a number of students are absent from lessons.

“If you are aware that your child is part of the group involved in the protest please confirm this with us for safeguarding purposes.

“We will spend today listening to our student voices and will then need time to consider and take action.

“We fully anticipate that the normal timetable will resume tomorrow with all students back in lessons.”

Chief Constable Simon Bailey told The Times that the outpouring of allegations was the education sector’s “MeToo” moment.

He added that he feared a “culture of misogyny and sexual harassment” had not been challenged in some schools.

The Argus: Hove MP Peter Kyle. Photo: Tony WoodHove MP Peter Kyle. Photo: Tony Wood

MP for Hove and Portslade Peter Kyle said: “The school must be given the space to deal with these very complicated issues in a sensitive and empathetic way that creates an environment where anyone with concerns for themselves or others can speak freely, be respected, and know it will lead to positive change.

“I know Cardinal Newman cares deeply for the welfare, development and safeguarding of every student. If there have been times when they haven’t lived up to the outstanding levels they set themselves, I know they will learn from it and I am always standing by, ready to help in anyway I can.”