I am the head of a college classified REP + in the northern districts of Marseille. Associate professor of history and geography, I have spent my entire career there. From 2014 to 2021, I was an “establishment” advisor to the rector, academic referent for “secularism and values of the Republic”, before choosing to return to priority education.
→ READ. “Identity, talk about it without getting angry”, our dossier
On September 14, 2001, the Ministry of National Education asked us to organize a minute of silence (three days after the World Trade Center attacks in New York, editor’s note). To my amazement, some students did not respect her. This traumatic moment triggered a work with my colleagues and in my classes which did not stop. Then, in October 2020, after the assassination of Samuel Paty, we understood that our colleagues were sometimes powerless to address questions of religion, identity, secularism.
I have an anecdote in mind. A teacher offered sixth grade work on the Bible and the Koran. To his surprise, many students came forward to say that this was ” versus “ their religion. She realized that she was placing them in a conflict of loyalty between school and family context. She took the time to explain that it was about looking at the foundations of a common culture and not learning a cult, and the course went very well.
To equip teachers, we imagined Live free! with teacher-trainers from the Aix-Marseille academy but also from Limoges or Paris. It is a book that offers educational avenues based on real-life situations around sensitive issues.
→ TESTIMONIAL. Léonore Moncond’huy: as a young woman, “I want to not be seen as a symbol”
We start from the idea that to develop knowledge of the values of the Republic, we must live them. It is about offering students to use their freedom of expression, to experience their citizenship in action. This question of identity must be worked on and it is obviously the role of the school to do so.