Because he had shown caricatures of Muhammad to his students, Samuel Paty met the wrath of some of their parents. Teacher at a college in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines), “fully in his profession” according to those who worked with him, he was beheaded in an attack on Friday.
“When I saw ‘prof – Bois d’Aulne – decapitation’, I made the direct link: ‘it’s Monsieur Paty'”, assures Martial, 16, who came to the Bois d ‘college on Friday evening. Alder with friends as soon as he heard the news, coming out of football training.
This high school student remembers his 4th year history and geography teacher very well in this reputedly calm school, located in the heart of a residential area which is just as much in this city of 35,000 inhabitants in the north-west of Paris.
“At the beginning of the year he introduced himself. He said that he was in Créteil” in another college “and that he came because his wife was transferred for her work”, recalls the young man. Samuel Paty, brown hair cut short, was “short”, wore glasses, “always had a shirt,” recalls Nathan, 16, another former Bois d’Aulne.
A “very invested” teacher
The father, in his forties, was known for his investment in his students. “He was fully in his job”, which he “liked a lot”, says Martial. “He really wanted to teach us things. From time to time, we had debates, we spoke”.
“From time to time, we had debates, we spoke”
Samuel Paty was beheaded in a street near the college, around 5:00 p.m. The school holidays of All Saints barely sounded, the assailant – an 18-year-old Chechen Russian – threw himself on him, before being, a little later, shot dead by the police.
Emmanuel Macron, who visited the scene on Friday evening, denounced a “characterized Islamist attack” and called on “the whole nation” to unite behind the teachers to “protect and defend them”. According to the first elements of the investigation, the teacher had shown his students of 4th, last week, a caricature of Mohammed.
“A sensible subject”
A report had reached Rodrigo Arenas, co-president of the FCPE, the first association of parents of students, because of the tensions caused by his initiative with certain parents of students.
According to a source familiar with the matter, a parent of an indignant student had filed a complaint against Samuel Paty, who in return had filed a defamation complaint against him. The victim allegedly, according to Rodrigo Arenas, “invited Muslim students out of the classroom” before showing a drawing of the prophet crouching with a star drawn on his buttocks and the inscription “a star is born”.
>> To read also: “It’s horrible”, “We are afraid”: in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, parents and residents are in shock
“He did it every year,” says 15-year-old Virginia, who has known the teacher. “It was on the program for the EMC (moral and civic education, ed.), It was to talk about freedom in relation to the Charlie Hebdo attack, it showed these images, the cartoons,” says the girl , stating that this year, “it has grown.”
A “sensitive” subject, remembers his Martial side, who attended the same course three years ago. But what the teacher certainly did not foresee this time was the message launched on social networks by the student’s father. In a video, he describes the teacher as a “thug” who “must no longer remain in the National Education” and invites other parents of students to mobilize.
“Out of sorts”
Since this “story”, Samuel Paty “was not on his plate,” Myriam, a 13-year-old schoolgirl, had observed, mimicking his scowl when he wandered the halls. “I heard students talking ‘ah he’s racist’,” she says. Other qualifiers circulated on his account as “Islamophobic”, she slips half-word.
“He did not do this to create controversy or to disrespect children or to discriminate,” said Nordine Chaouadi. Her 13-year-old son was entering his second year of classes with Mr. Paty. “He said to me, ‘he was super nice this gentleman'”, breaths the father.
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