Costa del Sol News - 08th May 2009

News from Andalucia & Costa del Sol

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Schools crack down on mobile phones

Pupils using phones, MP3s or MP4s in class will be suspended

By David Eade

Children can take their mobile phones to school with them but once there they have to be turned off. Failure to do so can result in suspension from the school for several days.

The tough action has been ordered to prevent students using their mobiles, MP3 or MP4 players to intimidate fellow pupils or in some cases staff members. There have been numerous cases in Spain where youngsters have taken photos in class, with their phones, and then posted them on the internet in order to shame or embarrass their peers or teachers.

In Marbella the teaching staff and directors of the IES Gudalpín school pioneered the ban on mobiles and music players in order to prevent bad behaviour. There these gadgets, that no youngster wants to be seen without, have been barred for six years. The school's headmaster, José Luis Rodríguez stated the case simply - "If a child is caught with a telephone in class they are banned for a year."

In his office he has some 30 phones that have been confiscated over the years. The headmaster said that in some cases when he had confiscated a phone the pupil would tell his parents that it had been stolen so they'd buy him or her a new one.

The pupils are experts in using such websites as Tuenti, YouTube and Facebook where they can place the photos they take in school. Three pupils were recently suspended for five days for putting pictures on the internet. If the images target the teachers then the suspension is heavier - around two weeks.

Another school in Marbella, the IES Río Verde, has also suspended pupils in three such cases. They acted after a student, who was the target, complained to the school's management. There headmaster Pablo López says the culprits have two options - a week without their phone or a week's suspension.

Residents' fury over vandalism and noise

Puerto Marina homeowners say they will take town hall to court

By David Eade

The residents of the Puerto Marina area of Benalmádena are venting their anger over what they say is excessive noise, late-night street drinking and vandalism in the zone.

The spokesperson for the anti-noise action group that speaks for 500 people, Francisco Ruiz, says they intend to go to the courts to force Benalmádena town hall to take action. He added that the nuisance is both in the port area and Plaza Solymar.

Before taking action Sr Ruiz met with the president of the Plaza Solymar residents' association, Francisco Ávila. He confirmed they were taking legal action and stated that the campaign to combat the noise and anti-social behaviour had been going on for 15 years.

Sr Ruiz pointed out that they had contacted the mayor, Javier Carnero, "but up till now he has not spoken about the problem nor offered any solution."

He added: "Those of us who live in the marina do not want to take court action but then the town hall has not taken any steps to rectify the situation and offered no solution to our problems." Sr Ruiz went on to state that the residents cannot put up with the noise night after night as it provokes stress, creates anxiety and disturbs their sleep.

Mayor meeting sought

The residents have not closed the door on talks with the town hall but are adamant that they will only discuss their plight with the mayor, as previous meetings with the deputy mayor and the councillor for social welfare have been a waste of time. They also insist that the encounter must be held with the associations representing the residents of both the port and Solymar, and not just one of the two. The residents want action now before the start of the summer season when late-night noise is at its height.