A new TV and online campaign is launched on Tuesday to combat bullying at school.

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EDUCATION

One in ten French pupils bullied at school

A new TV and online campaign is launched on Tuesday to combat bullying at school.

One in ten French pupils bullied at school
Anti-bullying website

Government figures estimate that one in ten children suffer from bullying at school, reported daily newspaper 20 Minutes.

Three films show the impact bullying can have on the victims and try to life the taboo on talking about the problem.

“If France has woken up to this problem later than some other countries, we hope that the use of many media channels can help create a virtuous circle,” said Eric Debarbieux, a researcher who has spearheaded the campaign with the education ministry.

The films will be shown on TV and distributed through social networks including YouTube and dailymotion.

One film shows the effects of gossip while another focuses on a boy who is taunted over his weight. A third film, shown below, shows pupils picking on a boy by slapping him and provoking him.

In all the films, a pupil is shown observing the bullying and wondering whether he should take action.

A website has been set up to offer support to pupils who are victims of bullying and also to advise others who see bullying taking place: agircontreleharcelementalecole.gouv.fr

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EDUCATION

Schools to close as French teachers strike over Covid rules

Around three-quarters of French teachers plan to go on strike onThursday to protest the government's shifting rules on Covid testing for students, forcing the closure of half the country's primary schools, a union said Tuesday.

Schools to close as French teachers strike over Covid rules
Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP

The strike led by the Snuipp-FSU union, the largest among primary school teachers, comes after the latest of several changes on testing and isolation requirements for potential Covid cases announced by Prime Minister Jean Castex late Monday.

After seeing long lines of parents outside pharmacies and labs in recent days to test children in classes where a case was detected, Castex said home tests could now be used to determine if a student could return to school.

But teachers say class disruptions have become unmanageable with the spread of the highly contagious Omicron coronavirus variant.

“Students cannot learn properly because attendance varies wildly, and a hybrid of in-house and distance learning is impossible to put in place,” the Snuipp-FSU said, adding that absent teachers are not being replaced.

It is also demanding the government provide facemasks for staff, including the more protective FFP2 masks, and CO2 monitors to check if classrooms are sufficiently ventilated.

“Not only does the current protocol not protect students, staff or their families, it has completely disorganised schools,” the union said, claiming that classes have effectively been turned into “daycare centres.”

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer has said the government is doing everything possible to avoid outright school closures that could cause havoc for parents and jeopardise learning for thousands, especially those in low-income families.

“I know there is a lot of fatigue, of anxiety… but you don’t go on strike against a virus,” Blanquer told BFM television on Tuesday.

As of Monday some 10,000 classes had been shut nationwide because of Covid cases, representing around two percent of all primary school classes, Blanquer said.

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