Pupils from nursery and infant schools across France were kept home this week after their parents were sent hoax text messages warning them that teachers were to give lessons in masturbation and sex education and telling them to boycott classes.

In recent days headteachers at infant and nursery schools across France have noticed a concerning drop in the number of children attending classes.

The reason for such a high and unexpected rate of non-attendance was not down to the stomach flu epidemic that is sweeping France but something far more sinister.

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