“I am traumatized, shocked. I never thought an act like this could happen, especially here. “ Student in class of 3 had Collège du Bois-d’Aulne, in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines), Sarah * did not get over it. With reddened eyes, she came on Saturday with several girlfriends and friends to pay tribute to her former history teacher, Samuel Paty, brutally murdered the day before in a street near the college, for having, according to the first elements of the investigation, showed caricatures of Muhammad to his students. A shock, in this reputedly calm school establishment, located in the heart of one of the suburban districts of this city of 35,000 inhabitants in the north-west of Paris. “It is an average college, located in a neighborhood neither favored nor disadvantaged”, as described by a 50-something professor who teaches at another college in town. “We could never have imagined that. It means that it can happen anywhere … “, he breathes, overcome with emotion.
In front of the building, massively secured by a cordon of CRS, students, parents, teachers, but also many anonymous, lay flowers, farewell messages, calls for tolerance, in an incessant coming and going. , respect for secularism. Some posters proclaim “I am a teacher”. At 3:30 p.m., a minute of silence was declared. Suddenly no more a word, no more a noise. Only sobs accompany this moment of intense meditation.
Shock, fear and misunderstanding
“A friend who had it the day before yesterday told me he looked happy, he was laughing with them”, reports with sadness Maëlin, in 4 e, obviously very touched. “Friday night,” she continues, “we got a message from the college, informing us that the teacher was dead, that we could come, and that we could have psychological support. I think I’ll probably need it. “ Dorine, young college girl aged 6 e, speaks, she, of ” the fear “ that she felt. “If it had been necessary to go back to college on Monday, I would not have been able, I would have been afraid to go there”, admits the young girl. By his side, his mother confirms: “Yesterday evening, she heard sirens, it was undoubtedly Emmanuel Macron who arrived on the spot, she was panicked …”
But there, in front of this college without history, it is especially the incomprehension which dominates. Sarah remembers a “appreciated” teacher: “I got it last year. He had told us about the caricatures of Mohammed. He told us, before showing them, that if we didn’t want to see them, we could go out. He was not forcing anyone. He was trying to explain to us why there were attacks in France. “ “He did that every year, adds Maëlin. It was on the moral and civic education program. We were talking about freedom of expression in relation to the Charlie Hebdo attack. “
This year, however, the subject has taken on an unexpected dimension: a father of a student posted on social media a video in which he called the teacher “Thug” who “Must no longer remain in National Education” and invites other parents to get involved. A report had also reached Rodrigo Arenas, co-president of the FCPE, the first association of parents of pupils. “We had been alerted by parents of students that a video was circulating on social networks, confirms the activist. For fear of disturbing public order, we warned the mayor, who replied that all means had been taken. “
“With social networks, we knew very quickly who it was, the victim”
The students also saw mounted ” pressure “. “When I saw the words ‘teacher’, ‘Bois d’Aulne’, ‘caricatures’ on the networks, I knew straight away who the teacher was. I said to myself, it’s Monsieur Paty. He was the only one who did a class where he spoke about Islam, where he showed caricatures ”, says Lisa, 13, in 4th grade. “Until this year, nothing had ever happened”, says Sarah. “Some students felt discriminated against. Their parents got involved. I saw the chats on Snapchat. There was a lot of talk about that in the hallways. I found that unacceptable. He was just a teacher doing his job, just talking about freedom of expression ”, laments Lisa “Even if the subject may seem shocking to some, it was not a reason to hurt this teacher”, loose Ilies *.
The rest is not going to be easy. “My daughter cries a lot. We talk a lot with her, but it’s hard to find the words ”, recognizes a father of a student. In an attempt to protect his two boys, both high school students, another parent gave them “Forbidden to comment on social networks. I do not forbid them to go there. I just feel that they are not mature to understand the difference between Muslims and radical Islamists. “ The mother of the young Dorine, she banned him from viewing the images. “Too much violence. Especially since two of his girlfriends have seen images of the body. “
In front of the college, many professors wonder about “After” and the shock wave caused by this attack. “A minute of silence will not be enough. Even if the children talk during the holidays, it will reappear at the start of the school year ”, they repeat. A plastic arts professor from another college, with the hashtag “#jesuisprof” pinned to the lapel of her jacket, with tears in her eyes, is in despair: “Our role, as a teacher, is to help the students develop their critical thinking. Bring debate, divergence. There is a turning point. We hurt a whole generation of students. Not to mention the teachers. “
* First names have been changed