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Porn scandal sees Paris school ban smartphones

Ben McPartland · 7 Jul 2015, 12:21

Published: 07 Jul 2015 12:21 GMT+02:00

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When pupils at the posh Montaigne secondary school, located on the edge of the Jardin de Luxembourg, return to school in September, they will have to do without their smartphones.

Or at least they won't be allowed to use them on school premises and anyone caught doing so will be punished.

That's because school bosses have taken the rather draconian step of banning phones after the school was hit by scandal earlier this year.

In May, six schoolboys from Montaigne's middle school (collége) had to be disciplined, after it was alleged they had groped girls in the school's toilets after watching pornographic films on their smartphones during their lunch breaks.
A specialist police unit in charge of protecting children opened a probe into sexual harassment, following the reports.
In a letter to the school's authorities, a mother of one of the victims said that her daughter and others were "insecure both physically and psychologically" after the abuse, in which she said the boys, aged ten and 11 had fondled the girls' breasts, buttocks, and vaginas.
One girl at the school in Paris's chic 6th arrondissement returned home to tell her parents how she knew the boys were watching "borno" at school, reported French newspaper Le Parisien
Another parent said that he had become aware that the boys, aged ten and 11, had been using an iPhone 6 to watch videos on porn streaming website YouPorn. 
The reports made headline news and prompted concern across France around the potential dangers of porn and from allowing children to take mobile phones into schools.
François Bayrou, the president of the centrist Democratic Movement called for a ban on smartphones at schools or at least during lunch breaks, which he referred to as a "common sense measure" that would reduce the risk of such abuse occurring again. 
Sociologist Michel Fize chimed in on the topic for the Le Figaro newspaper, lamenting the fact that internet was creeping into the daily lives people at younger and younger ages, seemingly serving as a "justification for behavioural excess".
"The fondlers were quick to say that their assaults were 'just for fun'," he wrote. "It's terrible to consider their lack of understanding about the gravity of their actions."
Story continues below…
Smartphones are already forbidden during class hours across France, but students are allowed to use them during their breaks. 
Parents group at Montaigne have backed the move and said it was now up to parents to "take their responsibilities".

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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