“We will continue to talk about freedom of expression”: French teachers are “devastated” but do not tremble

French teachers are “devastated” but promise to continue to encourage students’ “critical spirit” without fear of “teaching difficult subjects” to students. “We will continue to talk about freedom of expression. If there are sensitive issues, we will continue to teach them ”, guarantees Jean-Rémi Girard, president of the union Conseil Supérieur de l’Éducation.

“We will try to encourage the critical spirit of our students and explain that everyone has the right to disagree,” said the union leader, before meeting with Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer and Prime Minister Jean Castex. “It is scary to see that in France in the 21st century a teacher can be beheaded on the street for doing his job”, condemns the official.

The shock wave spread to social media, where on Twitter quickly the hashtag #JeSuisProf (I’m a teacher) quickly went viral, referring to the popular buzzword “Je Suis Charlie”, which emerged after the January 7 attack. 2015 to the headquarters of the French satirical newspaper.

A colleague of the victim, also on Twitter, wrote: “I am destroyed. Samuel Paty was my graduation buddy. He was a brilliant student, a super teacher, a man of dialogue. I will mention your name and your example, comrade, to everyone who will still want to practice this beautiful profession ”.

The murder of Samuel Paty, a professor of history and geography in the second cycle, shocked the world. The 47-year-old Frenchman was beheaded this Friday, very close to the high school in the small town of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine where he taught, days after showing his students caricatures of the prophet Muhammad.

The cartoons were shown during a mandatory civic and moral education class in which Samuel Paty talked about freedom of expression, but he was still careful to allow Muslim students to temporarily leave the room.

“It was so that the students would not be shocked. The teacher didn’t want to be disrespectful ”, reported the Muslim father of one of the students in the class.

Days before the “typical Islamic terrorist attack”, as Emmanuel Macron described, both the professor and the school received several threatening phone calls.

The perpetrator of the attack was an 18-year-old Chechen man who shouted “Allah Akbar” moments before he was shot by the police. Ten people have already been arrested and subject to interrogation for alleged involvement in the crime.

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