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Last Updated: Friday, 8 December 2006, 15:42 GMT
Greece bans mobiles in schools
By Malcolm Brabant
BBC News, Athens

Mobile phone
Students could be expelled for taking phones to school
Greece's education ministry has banned children from using mobile phones while at school.

The ruling follows the rape of a 16-year-old girl during a school sit-in which was reportedly videoed by fellow pupils on their mobiles.

Senior school students who repeatedly ignore the new ruling face the prospect of expulsion.

Almost every Greek school pupil over the age of 15 possesses a mobile phone, according to a recent study.

They are mainly used for listening to music, sending text messages and playing games but the gang rape of a 16-year-old Bulgarian girl on the island of Evia has convinced the education ministry that children will have to do without their precious status symbols.

The rape was reportedly videoed by some of the girls' female classmates using their mobile phones.

This detail, highlighting callous disregard for the victim's plight, horrified Greece.

Violent assaults

There has also been a rise in "happy-slapping" incidents where violent assaults by bullies are captured on video and circulated.

Some Greek television stations have broadcast sensational footage obtained in this way and in so doing have inadvertently accelerated the introduction of restrictions.

Teachers and psychologists have concluded that the video taping of bad behaviour encourages further disorder as well as competition amongst pupils to create increasingly shocking images.

The education ministry says that children will no longer be able to bring their phones into schools even if they are switched off.

Teachers are expected to lead by example and they have been told to switch off their phones during school hours otherwise they too face the prospect of disciplinary action.

In other European nations parents provide their children with mobile phones because they are worried about sexual predators.

However, Greece remains a relatively safe country in that respect and while in some families mobile phones are regarded as an essential lifeline to home, in tens of thousands of others, they are little more than an expensive fashion accessory.

Country profile: Greece
30 Nov 06 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Greece
30 Nov 06 |  Country profiles

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