Porn scandal sees Paris school ban smartphones

A prestigious Paris secondary school has been forced to ban pupils from using mobile phones after several boys began groping girls after reportedly watching online porn on their smartphones.

Porn scandal sees Paris school ban smartphones

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.”
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”.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


School closures rise in France as government relaxes rules for parents

The number of school and class closures in France has increased, the education minister reported on Wednesday, but the government has relaxed the rules for parents sending children back to class.

School closures rise in France as government relaxes rules for parents
Children over 11 in France have to wear masks during the school day. Photo: AFP

A total of 81 establishments and 2,100 individual classes have closed after discovering Covid-19 cases on their premises.

The number was a rise on the figures last week when 28 schools and 524 individual classes were closed.

“We have around 1,200 new Covid cases among pupils compared with last week,” Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told the LCI channel on Wednesday.

“We shut down a class as soon as there are three cases,” he said.

Blanquer noted that the closures represent just a small fraction of the 60,000 schools across France, calling the beginning of the new school year “the best possible given the health crisis.”


French officials have warned nonetheless that new restrictions might be required to stem a worrying increase in coronavirus cases since August.

IN NUMBERS: How fast are France's Covid-19 rates increasing?

No more official sick notes

Despite the surge in cases registered in schools, children with Covid-19 symptoms will no longer need to provide a doctor's sick note (une attestation) to return to class, Blanquer told BFMTV on Tuesday evening.

Instead, parents will need to fill in what in French is called an attestation sur l'honneur, a written document signed by the parent, stating either that the child tested negative for the virus, or a doctor has ruled out that the child has Covid-19.

READ ALSO: The vocabulary you need to fill in French forms (including the coronavirus 'attestation')

This followed a series of complaints from medical establishments across the country that they were overwhelmed with demands for sick notes and that parents were sending children with very light symptoms such as runny noses to get checked up.

According to the new rules, children who are identified as contact cases must get tested for the virus seven days after their last contact with the confirmed case. If the result comes back negative, the child can go back to class provided that a parent has provided a signed written attestation saying that the test came back negative. No proof for the test result will be required. 

A child with Covid-19 symptoms can also return to class if this attestation indicates that a doctor has ruled out the virus as cause for the symptoms, without providing any proof for the medical appointment.

The new health protocol will be updated and published on the education ministry's website shortly.

READ ALSO: The French school vocab parents need

'Chomage partiel'

Parents affected by the school closures can access to the partial unemployment scheme bolstered by the government at the beginning of the lockdown in March to help businesses foot their employees' salaries to prevent mass layoffs.

Those concerned will “benefit from income reimbursement from the first day of their stoppage of work, and at the latest until the end of the period of isolation,” the health ministry said in a statement.

Only one parent per household will be eligible for the help scheme, and only if they can document that their child's school or nursery closed down due to Covid-19, or that their child has been identified as a contact-case.

Higher education 

Late Tuesday, the University of Montpellier in southern France said it had suspended classes at its medical school after some 60 students tested positive after a party.

The University of Rennes in western France also suspended classes for second- and third-year medical students this week after 83 tested positive.

The government has placed 82 of the country's 101 departments on red alert, and officials in Bordeaux and Marseille this week tightened restrictions on public gatherings and retirement home visits after seeing a surge in new Covid-19 cases. 

READ ALSO: Why are Bordeaux and Marseille facing tougher Covid-19 restrictions but not Paris