What are the risks for students who use mobile phones in class? Romanian teacher in Germany: “I have the right to confiscate them”

Settled in Germany since 2011, Miriam Mircea is a foreign language teacher at two schools in the state of Saxony, in the east of the country, and explained to “Adevărul” what sanctions risk students who use mobile phones in class.

Miriam Mircea has been based in Germany since 2011 PHOTO Liliya Smirnaki

Unlike Romania, where the ban on cell phones in class is only on paper, but completely absent in reality, in Germany, the internal rule regarding the ban on cell phones during class has been applied in more and more schools in recent years.

Miriam Mircea has been teaching in the German state school system since 2022, being a teacher of English, French and German and, at the same time, the director of a 7th grade.

“At the schools where I teach, mobile phones are strictly prohibited both during breaks and especially during classes and they are not allowed to be used in the building or in the yard. This rule applies to both teachers and students. In very rare cases, we as teachers are allowed to allow the use of phones during class, but students are not allowed to be online. Parents all agree with this pedagogical measure. the reason why this rule exists in most schools is to try to to avoid cyberbullying. In addition, it tries to encourage in-person conversations during breaks and movement”says Miriam Mircea.

Until recently, banning mobile phones during class was practiced only in Bavaria. For several years, this internal rule has been approved and adopted by more and more German schools.

Students are not prohibited from bringing their phones to school, but they must be on silent, not online, and somewhere in their school bag, not in their pockets.

What sanctions do German students risk?

“What happens if I see students who, despite the rules, decide to play on the phone or even worse, go online? I must immediately confiscate their phone, go to the secretary, call their parents and give him a written warning. That is if the student gives up the phone without discussion. If the student wants to “negotiate” or simply refuses to give me the phone, citing that it is his property, I go to the secretariat and call the parents, asking them to come pick up their child from school, as he is absent without reason. If the parents cannot come and agree, the student is sent home alone. The phone remains at the school until the next day or until the school management decides”says Miriam Mircea.

Miriam Mircea teaches at two schools in Germany PHOTO Studioline Photography Berlin

Miriam Mircea teaches at two schools in Germany PHOTO Studioline Photography Berlin

Here are the penalties that German students risk for using their phones in class.

“We have the following methods: a letter from the school sent to the student's home by mail, a low grade for behavior, a phone call to the parents and in extreme cases, the lowest grade in the subject during which the student was caught on the phone. Many students in the schools where I teach don't have a mobile phone subscription, so they don't really have a way to access the internet during class”explains Miriam Mircea.

A graduate of the Western University of Timişoara, majoring in French-History, Miriam has a master's degree in geopolitics and diplomacy at the same university. He left for Germany 13 years ago, and in 2013 he founded together with Ioana Popescu, who lives in Romania, the first Romanian agency that mainly does comic conventions and gaming conventions. Miriam Mircea speaks French, English and German fluently.