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Queensland schools ban mobile bullying

Queensland state school students who use mobile phones to bully, cheat in exams or take pictures in change rooms will be punished under guidelines released this week.Under the guidelines, released today by the state government, camera phones will be banned in change rooms, and students caught using them to bully or cheat in exams will be "disciplined.

Queensland state school students who use mobile phones to bully, cheat in exams or take pictures in change rooms will be punished under guidelines released this week.

Under the guidelines, released today by the state government, camera phones will be banned in change rooms, and students caught using them to bully or cheat in exams will be "disciplined."

Education Minister Anna Bligh said although there was no evidence that the misuse of mobile phones in classrooms was a problem, they want to get on the "front-foot" before it becomes an issue.

"The guidelines should prompt discussion between schools, parents and students about what steps can be taken to promote appropriate mobile phone use. Schools will be able to refer to the guidelines to develop their own policies, based on the particular interests and concerns of their local community," Bligh said.

Disciplinary action for misuse of mobile phones will be determined by individual principals, depending on the case and offence. Bligh emphasised it should also follow the school's Behaviour Management Strategy.

"Overall, the guidelines indicate there are some clear-cut expectations about the use of mobile phones. They're not OK for private use in the classroom and if students use them to bully, cheat or take inappropriate images of others, they can expect to be disciplined," Bligh said.

Bligh clarified that the guidelines are not intended to discourage learning of new technoglogies. She said they want to incorporate new technologies appropriately into the classroom program and prevent the use of these technologies in a disruptive manner.

"The guidelines also recognise mobile phones are useful to students in emergencies, and that students should be able to access them at appropriate times. The guidelines are intended to strike a sensible balance between their positive use in the classroom and for emergencies and ensuring they're not used in a disruptive way," Bligh said.