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'Mock attacks': How France will boost security at schools

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'Mock attacks': How France will boost security at schools
Photo: AFP
12:26 CEST+02:00
Schools around France have been sent a list of guidelines focussing on how to improve security, including teaching children lifesaving skills that will be introduced at the start of term in September.

The country's interior and education ministers have put their heads together to come up with a series of measures to boost security in schools with the country on high alert for more terror attacks.

“The recent attacks and the context of the terrorist threat means heightened vigilance is required,” said a joint statement from Bernard Cazeneuve and Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.

The statement highlights the “top priority” given to schools, which were the subject of a particular threat by Isis in December last year.

Isis's francophone propaganda magazine Dar al Islam called for Muslim parents to pull their children out of French schools, and to kill teachers who teach French principle of secularism.

And in January this year several Paris high schools were evacuated due to bomb threats. Although the calls turned out to be hoaxes police were forced to take them seriously.

Who is sending terror threats to Paris's high schools?Photo: Twitter/HPouxx

From the start of the new term pupils aged 14 upwards will be taught basic life-saving measures and school chiefs will be asked to carry out mock attack exercises and to secure “vulnerable areas”.

Isolated entrances into schools or exposed areas need to be secured, the ministries warn and schools have asked to identify what works needs to be done.

“Special attention will be paid to the areas around schools to strengthen the supervision of the streets… and to avoid any congregating that might put the students' safety in jeopardy.

As part of the prevention three exercises will be organised during the school year, with the first one to be carried out before November and will cover what to do in the event of an attack.

Ministers want to improve “the ability of schools to react and not be taken by surprise”.

A text messaging alert system that will wanr pupils and staff will also be tested at the start of the new term.

School headteachers have been asked to hold meetings with parents to explain to them the new security measures.

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