Italy bans use of mobile phones in classrooms

Italy has banned schoolchildren from using mobile phones in class in an attempt to stop ringtones disrupting lessons and prevent pupils messing about with video cameras, a Reuters report said.

The Reuters report said the rules force schools to discipline children who persist in using their phones, with punishments ranging from the confiscation of phones to excluding pupils from final exams.

The ban follows a series of incidents that have shocked Italians. In November, a video showing a disabled pupil being bullied by classmates, filmed on a mobile phone, caused outcry after it was posted on the Internet, the report said.

Education Minister Giuseppe Fioroni said strict sanctions should be applied 'in cases of particular and extreme seriousness' where violation of the rules has legal repercussions or endangers safety, the Reuters report said.

Italian daily Corriere della Sera said Italy was the first European country to impose a national ban on mobile phone use in schools, the report added.