After the assassination of the high school teacher in Arras, the cry of alarm from a history teacher

After the assassination of the high school teacher in Arras, the cry of alarm from a history teacher

You teach at the Camille-Pissarro high school in Pontoise (Val-d’Oise). What was your reaction when you learned of the assassination of your colleague Dominique Bernard?

I said to myself: “Again! In twelve years, this is the fourth assassination of a teacher within a school or its surroundings, the second, a priori, with a terrorist motive. For all of us, the wound reopens and the shock is all the greater as the tragedy occurred almost three years to the day after the assassination of Samuel Paty.

Do you feel heard?

Not enough. If the ministry had shown a minimum of decency, it would have given us the whole day of Monday October 16 to meet with teachers, to exchange ideas, to support us. Instead, we only had two hours to talk about it among ourselves before broaching the subject with our students. To protest against the ministry’s decision and show their distress, some of my colleagues went on strike last Monday. The Arras drama adds to a general climate that is very unfavorable for teachers: the State, elected officials, parents of students… discredit our profession. We have had enough.

The perpetrator, Mohammed M., was looking, according to testimony, for a history teacher. Are teachers in your discipline particularly targeted?

History is the political subject par excellence, the knowledge which composes it is based on cross-referenced, verified sources. We constantly solicit critical thinking from students. For this reason, even if we have no desire to be targets, we naturally find ourselves in the crosshairs of fanatics, of all those who only refer to dogmas.

What are you asking of the State?

Above all, teachers who alert the head of the establishment, the rector or the unit of the Ministry of National Education in the event of repeated teaching challenges or, worse, death threats must be actively supported. The Arras attack also raises the question of securing middle and high schools. How was this young man able to enter the establishment when he was no longer a student there? Without systematically installing gates and cameras at the entrance, we probably need to change gear on this issue.

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