“Do not give in to fear” : a thousand people gathered, Saturday, October 17, in front of the college of Bois-d’Aulne, in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines), the day after the beheading of a history professor, Samuel Paty, who had shown caricatures of Muhammad to his class.
In the middle of the afternoon, a thousand parents, elected officials or ordinary citizens of all generations gathered with emotion in front of the school. Some were holding up signs “I am a teacher” or ” I’m a teacher “. The national anthem was chanted, then applause swept through the crowd.
“There will be a before and an after October 16 as a teacher: for the first time, a teacher is attacked for what he teaches”, says Lionel, a history and geography teacher from the neighboring town of Herblay (Val-d’Oise).
“There are thousands of teachers to do this, to talk about secularism, we must manage to lead these young people to be able to live together in a peaceful society”, continues the father of a student who had lessons with the victim, a “Very, very good teacher”. “We must not give in to fear, continue to teach secularism”, also insists Jonathan Renoir, a young teacher in a neighboring college in Cergy.
“Each brought their opinion”
Earlier in the day, dozens of students and parents silently placed white roses at the gates of this reputable establishment, which hosts around 750 middle school students. Inside, teams from the SAMU of the Versailles hospital center, the Yvelines prefecture and the Versailles rectorate have set up a psychological unit.
“It’s horror, it’s very complicated to discuss with my son what happened”, explains a mother, who prefers to testify on condition of anonymity, because her “Son would not like to see my name in the press”.
Marie, currently in second, came in front of her old establishment to lay flowers in “Homage to his former teacher”. “I remember his free speech class. We had talked about Charlie, we had made drawings which are still hanging in the college ”, explains the young girl, moved, come with two friends.
Hugo, in 3e, was one of Samuel Paty’s students, who gave him support lessons every week. “He was great, very accommodating and attentive”, he assures. But, “Since last week, the atmosphere was tense, it was sure that it was going to end badly”. Her mother, Sabrina, agrees: “We even received a text from the principal on the intranet saying that there were problems between the parents of the students and this teacher. “
“Everyone contributed their opinion during their lessons, it was great. Now, we must continue and face, we must not prove them right ”, launches a former student, now in high school. Further on, Ludovic, 40, father of a 13-year-old girl in 4e in college, still hardly believe what happened the day before. “How could we believe that a professor who had shown drawings was beheaded? “, he asks himself.
In the neighborhood, the astonishment has not subsided. “Young people were shouting at us : “Go home quickly, there is someone who has weapons”, but we thought they were making jokes ”, says Marie-Claude, 74, in a bathrobe in front of the gate of the house she has occupied for forty years, just in front of the school. “It was only by watching the news last night that we realized that it was true”, adds the retiree, “Scared”.
According to the first elements of the investigation, the teacher had shown his students, last week, a caricature of Muhammad, as part of a course on freedom of expression. Among the nine people in police custody on Friday is the father of a student of the victim. He called on social networks to mobilize for the dismissal of the professor from the establishment, said the national anti-terrorism prosecutor, Jean-François Ricard.
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