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Swedish teen struck for using mobile in class

Rebecca Martin · 14 Apr 2011, 15:25

Published: 14 Apr 2011 15:25 GMT+02:00

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The fifteen-year-old girl was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and was speaking into her headset.

When questioned, she claimed that she didn’t hear the teacher mention mobile phones until he hit her on the shoulder.

According to local paper Nya Wermlands-Tidningen (NWT), the incident left the girl with a large bruise that kept smarting for a week. The redness didn’t subside until two days after the encounter.

The teacher’s side of the story is different, however.

He claimed to have asked the girl to hang up her phone, and when he saw her sitting hunched over he thought she was upset. When he went over to check if she was OK, he tripped and stumbled into her, he said.

According to NWT, other students who were sitting nearby said that they heard a commotion and saw the girl get upset and shocked by what happened.

They stayed after class and confronted the teacher, who claimed to have been ‘goofing around’. He then called the girl and apologised.

The rules on mobile phone usage during school hours in Sweden are not regulated in the education statutes. Instead it is up to schools to make their own rules.

Guidelines from the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) from 2007 state that students shouldn’t be allowed any object that may disturb the class.

A mobile phone that is turned off does not in itself constitute a disturbance but if the student is texting, taking photographs, surfing the net or doing anything else that may disturb the teacher or the other students it is grounds for removing the phone from the student.

However, teachers are not allowed to frisk students, and can’t remove objects that students are wearing.

If a student has a phone or an mp3-player in his or her pocket, the teacher has to ask the student to hand it over.

One way to get around it is to ask the students for any potentially disturbing objects prior to the beginning of class.

According to Maria Lönn of the Agency, questions regarding cell phones crop up every now and then. The guidelines from 2007 are getting outdated and could do with an update.

“Schools are supposed to be able to ensure peace and quiet for students during class, but it is understandable that it isn’t always that easy knowing how to go about it when it isn't regulated in the statutes,” she said to The Local.

Story continues below…

The Arvika teacher claimed to have warned the class that any mobile phones found in use would be confiscated.

However, according to NWT, the district court ruled that after looking at photographic evidence there was no mistaking that the girl had suffered pain.

No one had seen the teacher trip and stumble.

The teacher was sentenced to pay a fine, as well as 5,000 kronor ($799) in damages to the girl and 500 kronor compensation for pain and suffering.

Rebecca Martin (rebecca.martin@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:19 April 14, 2011 by ilockitdown
wow we are getting soft nowadays
17:31 April 14, 2011 by RitaPita
What a whiny little spoiled girl.

Where does she get off disrespecting the teacher and class by rudely chatting it up on the phone? Someone needs a bit more discipline.

On top of that, she continues with the whining even after the teacher called and apologized.

There are so many others in the world who actually have something to cry about, but we have it way too damn good. "First world problem"
18:06 April 14, 2011 by Thompsuleme
where I come from, we get the cane........lets just say she is lucky to live in sweden, but really talking on the fone in class? she could just excuse herself and got out no? damned spoilt kids here..
18:07 April 14, 2011 by Tanskalainen
The little fabodjatan! He should have taken her in the backroom for a little personal instruction.
19:26 April 14, 2011 by StockholmSam
Too bad he lost his cool and hit her. Still, most teachers are stressed out in overloaded classrooms and students often disrespect them outright. Human beings do have their limits.
20:20 April 14, 2011 by eddie123
parents are not parenting their kids and the stress of teachers dealing with unruly pupils is overwhelming. it is important that the discipline of kids and young people is stepped up in sweden. it is equally important that teachers are given the necessary tools and authority to educate and discipline pupils in school.
20:43 April 14, 2011 by waffen
There is no excuse whatsoever in civilized societies for teachers to hit, paddle, cane or otherwise assault students.

His fine should have been tripled, and he should find a new job.

There are other options open to him to control his class. The use of force is not an option.
21:07 April 14, 2011 by Swedesmith
Teachers shouldn't hit students. Even if they deserve it.
23:12 April 14, 2011 by dizzymoe33
Cell phones are not allowed in our schools at all. Besides the kids can use the phones internet options to cheat on test's and things.
23:43 April 14, 2011 by wxman
This is simple, teacher says get off the effin' phone, do so or suffer the consequences. Kids need to learn who's the boss.
05:39 April 15, 2011 by Da Goat
next time the teacher needs to be carrying a knife he confiscated and accidentally stab the spoiled rat girl instead!
06:52 April 15, 2011 by calebian22
And in Sweden the consequences for acting out or not following the rules is just a stern talking too. Big whoop! Kids know that they can do what they want with no consequences because there are none.
09:58 April 15, 2011 by justiceforall
Only this matter is not acceptable in SWEDEN! 15 years old girl, and not listening to the lecture? Get her out of class please. She spoils the environment of getting knowledge. It's a sin.
10:45 April 15, 2011 by star10
She is not a child and for sure face a consequence for her action. But the consequence shouldn't of course be violence from the teacher. The school may have other rules. Though the teacher deserves to be punished for hitting the girl, she too should face some punishment for disturbing the class intentionally.
11:52 April 15, 2011 by johnny1939
The cellphone is over used in Sweden. It amuses me that a people that are fairly stern and silent have so much to say once they get on a phone??? Being a swede myself I get off the darn thing as quickly as possible if I am outside and save my lengthy conversations to my landline. Many times in good restaurants when my neighbours have been yacking forever and made my meal uncomfortable I feel like hitting them myself. I love the restaurants that do not allow cellphone use at the table.
14:07 April 15, 2011 by Nathan L
I'm a 16 year old boy from Australia and normally the phone would be confiscated and then collected at the end of the day from administration. What the teacher did was against the law and he should be reviewed by a professional standards panel for his actions. Also the girl should be given a detention for using her cellphone in class and the next time she does it, her phone confiscated till the end of the day.
16:23 April 15, 2011 by Tanskalainen
She needs a hot spank and a flute lesson.
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