In France, the gap is widening more and more between the different political currents on certain issues. The debate on secularism, its interpretation and the fields of its application is hardening. The school found itself at the center of these debates, in particular with the increase in the number of pupils wearing Islamist clothes; against the law for some, and considered cultural garb for others. It is in this context of friction that a teacher is placed under police protection following a remark she made to a student in an abaya (wide dress usually worn with the veil).
The story could have gone unnoticed without social networks. However, the student’s broadcast of a video of his discussion with his Spanish teacher set things on fire. Indeed, since mid-September, when this teacher made this remark to the high school student wearing an abaya, the situation has worsened. The events took on such a magnitude that the school and the teacher’s home were put under police protection.
It all started on September 23. The 17-year-old high school student wears an abaya and says she was teased by her Spanish teacher during her class about this outfit. At the end of class, the high school student and the teacher are talking. The student then films The teacher who reprimands her on her clothing. “She will see what Allah will do to her”, then comments the young girl in a video that she will publish on the social network TikTok. However, she took care to blur the professor’s face and modify her voice.
In order to protest against his teacher’s remarks, the student also called on his classmates, in protest, to come with an abaya. This happened after returning from vacation. A movement little followed according to the rectorate of Toulouse, which indicates all the same that “out of 2500 students at the Bourdelle high school, there are about twenty young girls who wore the abaya since the start of the school year”. “We have put in place a procedure which automatically sanctions any attempt to undermine secularism in a graduated manner”, specifies the rector.
“Islamic” clothing at school: complaints from both sides
With regard to the video, one of the young girl’s lawyers indicated that it was about “remarks so that the teacher is finally sanctioned, absolutely not in a radical way, but in a hierarchical way, even judiciary”. This lawyer regrets that “those comments [aient] been interpreted in a harsh way, and led to her being considered as a little radicalized person”. For its part, the rectorate of Toulouse, having judged that the high school student wears this outfit “systematically by claiming it”, decided to take disciplinary measures against her.
This case has also taken on a security dimension. The young girl was heard by the police for invasion of privacy after the complaint of the teacher and the head of the establishment for the dissemination of the video. “This recording is illegal and its distribution reinforces the dangerousness of the act”, explains the head of the establishment. Following these decisions, the student left the school and also filed a complaint for discriminatory remarks. “She suffered long before this affair from recurring reflections on the part of both the teaching body and the administrative staff. And that day, she felt deeply humiliated, ”explains the girl’s lawyer.
It must be said that despite the fact that there are no proven threats to the teacher and the school, the establishment is now under police protection at entry and exit times. The teacher’s home is also under police protection.
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