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“Samuel Paty” law, functional protection, increased vigilance of the National Education: the assassination a year ago of the history teacher Samuel Paty provoked an awareness within the institutions of the need to better protect teachers when they face threats from their students or parents. A salutary development which still comes up against administrative delays.
Commemorations to honor the memory of a teacher who became an “emblem of freedom” and “of the Republic”. On Saturday October 16, France marked the first anniversary of the murder of history and geography professor Samuel Paty, brutally murdered on leaving his college in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, for showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad during a course on the freedom of expression. An event that sparked a wave of national turmoil and fears among teachers. Several measures have since been put in place to protect and reassure teachers. France 24 takes stock.
Legislative arsenal strengthened
“We will support them, we will protect them as much as necessary. In school as outside of school, the pressures, the abuse of ignorance and obedience that some would like to introduce have no place at home. us “declared President Emmanuel Macron on October 21, 2020, five days after the assassination of the professor. Since this speech, the judicial arsenal has been strengthened to better protect teachers. Adopted on August 24, the amendment known as “Samuel Paty”, now punishes with three years’ imprisonment the fact “of hindering, in a concerted manner and with the help of threats, the exercise of the function of teacher”.
A new offense also targets the dissemination of personal information “for malicious purposes”, because the name of the professor, as well as his photo, had been disseminated on the Internet by his detractors. “We can no longer bring ourselves to passively witness the unleashing of hatred on social networks” affirmed Jean Castex, on October 20, 2020, to defend this measure. “It is because he was named by social networks that Samuel Paty was assassinated.”
>> To read also : Assassination of Samuel Paty, a year later, confidences of students and teachers
“Faulty” functional protection
In addition to the legislative measures, the government considered that it was necessary to strengthen the protection granted to teachers within the national education system. Because if the institution has shown itself to be “reactive” in the Samuel Paty affair, according to the report of the General Inspectorate of Education, the latter did not benefit from functional protection, assistance provided by the institution which covers legal costs in the context of proceedings instituted against a public official. Samuel Paty was, however, the subject of a complaint from a parent for “distributing a pornographic image to minors” and had himself lodged a complaint for “defamation”.
“In the case of Samuel Paty, it is not said that the institution is at fault because to obtain this legal protection, the teacher is required to ask for it”, explains Jean-Michel Harvier, professor of history geography and legal officer at the National Union of Secondary Education (Snes-FSU). “On the other hand, when a teacher requests it, he must obtain it systematically, but this is far from being the case. Despite the reminder from the government that stipulates that functional protection must be granted without delay, we still receive many calls from professors whose requests remain unheeded. This assistance is still lacking today. “
“Repairing the bond of trust”
Jean-Michel Harvier considers all the same that the Samuel Paty affair has aroused a growing confidence within the institution: “I have the feeling that the incidents that the professors report are taken more seriously. the case for requests for disciplinary councils in particular, which teachers ask for the most serious incidents. Many teachers complained of not having any feedback or notifications of refusal without explanation, although they are mandatory. C is much less the case today. “
In the Paty case, the principal had accompanied the teacher during the filing of his complaint. But no college-wide lawsuit had been initiated. A position then criticized by certain politicians such as Patrick Hetzel, LR deputy for Bas-Rhin: “The college principal accompanies Mr. Paty but does not file a complaint on behalf of the State. A State which does its utmost must be a State which carries directly complaint when its officials are defamed and attacked, “he said.
“The complaint is not an obligation for the establishment but in cases of threats or assault of a professor, it seems obvious that it should be systematic, but there are always very few”, regrets Jean -Michel Harvier. “You have to understand that for a long time, when a teacher had a problem with a student, we first wondered what the teacher had done wrong to make it happen. The watchword was not to make waves. Today, we feel a desire to correct the situation but it remains, in fact, timid and it will take time to repair the bond of trust with the hierarchy. “
An observation shared by Christine Guimonn, secretary general of the French professional association of teachers of history and geography (APHG): “Bringing the institution closer to its teachers will require a lot of work, because we have to change the culture towards more solidarity but also to change the structure, because National Education is a juggernaut without local human resources. Personally, I do not feel in danger when I teach, but it is true that I am more vigilant and I am ensures that my students are fully understood, especially among the youngest. Because there are situations of tension with parents. Some complain about comments or behaviors reported by their children, dispute the grades, and sometimes even question the program. is certain that the Paty affair on this subject has changed our outlook. “