SHARE
COPY LINK

EDUCATION

Teacher asked students to pretend to be suicidal

A French teacher who asked her students to write an essay in which they imagined themselves as a suicidal teenager has been suspended pending an investigation, education officials said Monday.

The teacher, who works at the Montmoreau-Saint-Cybard secondary school in the Charente region of western France, will discover next week if she is to face disciplinary action following an outcry among parents over a composition she reportedly set for her class of 13- and 14-year-olds.

According to local newspaper La Charente Libre, the teacher asked the pupils to imagine themselves as an 18-year-old who had taken an irrevocable decision to end his or her life.

"You decided at the last minute to explain your reasons," she said. "Drawing a self-portrait, you will describe your self-disgust. Your text will go over the events in your life that created this feeling."

The teacher was suspended following an anonymous letter from parents which asked: "What will be the next subject – how do you feel when you shoot up?"   

Jean-Marie Renault, the academic director of the Charente region, confirmed the teacher had been suspended and would be asked to explain what she was trying to do.

"If it is true that the question of suicide was posed in the terms reported, one could only be surprised, to say the least," he told AFP.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

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.

SHOW COMMENTS