July 2, 2008 / 1:06 PM / 11 years ago

Schools in Cyprus to punish mobile phone users

NICOSIA (Reuters) - Pupils in Cyprus are set to face tough penalties if they bring mobile phones to school.

Under legislation proposed by the island’s education ministry, students spotted carrying a mobile phone will be reprimanded, those found with it turned on could be suspended, and anyone filming with a handset could face expulsion.

“Pupils were sending text messages to each other during exams, during lessons, video footage and photographs were being taken and posted on the Internet,” said Dr Zena Poulli, director of secondary education at the Cypriot education and culture ministry.

Authorities had even contemplated curtailing mobile telephone reception in school buildings, Poulli said.

“We have to show students that there are strict and clear boundaries,” she said.

There have been several cases in recent years of unruly behavior in classrooms being filmed and posted on the web, while violent bullying incidents, known as “happy slapping,” have also being filmed.

Reporting by Sara Ktisti, editing by Keith Weir

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