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Attacks on secularism at school, the end of a taboo



Emmanuel Macron hinted that the fight for secularism at school will be one of the axes of the future law against “separatism”. It is in this context that Jean-Michel Blanquer unveiled new statistics on Tuesday, October 13, in front of the “Values ​​of the Republic” teams created three years ago in each academy and that establishments can call upon in the event of an incident. .

Difficult to compare the figures of last year with those of the previous year, both the confinement and the partial resumption of classes, at the end of the third quarter, confuse the reading. But between September 2019 and March 2020, 935 reports of attacks on secularism were recorded, against 900 over the same period last year. “We have contained the phenomenon”, rejoices the Minister of National Education.

Behind this stability, certain developments are calling out. While colleges, with 44% of cases, are the first to be affected, primary schools are also increasingly affected (40%), with incidents often caused by families. “The share of attacks attributable to parents of pupils continues”, deplores the minister.

Beheading images broadcast during a virtual class

Likewise, if the majority of the facts relate to “classic” situations, such as proselytism, the attempt to wear religious signs or clothing or the refusal to participate in sports or cultural activities, other forms of attacks secularism arose. As the 2019-2020 school year was partly held at a distance, some took advantage of the virtual classes to broadcast – if necessary using the codes transmitted to the students – religious songs, calls to prayer, propaganda messages, even images of beheading. Acts that “Have been the subject of systematic complaints”, assures Jean-Michel Blanquer, while the National Center for Distance Learning (Cned) has taken technical measures to prevent such incidents.

As sociologist Bernard Rougier argues, “France is the place of battle” in the eyes of Islamists, and particularly his school, perceived as “A place of subversion” that we must fight to attack Western modernity. This is why, according to him, “Many young women take their children out of school” or “Correct” the teachings, persuaded “That we mix the true and the false”. A marked trend since the law on marriage for all: “The school is considered as the place of propagation of gender theory”, recalls the researcher.

In response, Jean-Michel Blanquer recalled the will of the executive to fight home education, in particular for the 30,000 children who come under it without being registered with the Cned. It is also a matter of tightly controlling, and even closing if necessary, schools outside the contract, and of attacking schools. “Pure fact”, like those recently discovered in Bobigny and Sevran, in the Paris suburbs. “When we see the images of a 3-year-old girl entirely veiled in a clandestine structure, intervening is not only defending the Republic, it is also defending children’s rights”, he insists.

A third of teachers censor themselves

“The 2015 attacks and the refusal of many students to pay tribute to the victims brought national education out of denial”, says Jean-Pierre Obin. This former inspector general salutes “A new courage of the political class”, a desire to objectify the phenomenon, to look it in the face. But he regrets that this development sometimes stops at the threshold of classrooms. “An Ifop survey in 2018 showed that 37% of teachers had already self-censored to avoid an incident about secularism, a proportion that rose to 53% for those in priority education! “

Also, for Isabelle de Mecquenem, professor of philosophy at the National Higher Institute of Teaching and Education in Reims, it is urgent to place these themes at the heart of teacher training, which today only addresses them from very disparate way. Recruitment competitions should perhaps provide for disciplinary tests in which candidates would be questioned on secularism and the values ​​of the Republic ”, she suggests.

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Attacks at school

935 reports of attacks on secularism were identified between the start of the 2019 school year and confinement, against 900 over the same period the previous year.

A third gave rise to the intervention an academic team “Values ​​of the Republic”.

Seven academies gather half of the reports : in descending order, Créteil, Grenoble, Normandy, Toulouse, Versailles, Nice and Lyon.

The perpetrators are mostly students (57%), followed by parents (22%) and staff (12%).

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