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French schools to ramp up security with 'mock attacks'

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French schools to ramp up security with 'mock attacks'
Photo: AFP
12:22 CEST+02:00
French schools will soon be forced to stage simulated attacks in a bid to prepare children for potential terror attacks, among other measures.
French Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve have outlined their plan for new security measures in schools, ahead of the start of the school year next week.
  
The ministers revealed new security measures on Wednesday based upon three key principles: "Anticipate, get safe, know how to react", part of a plan that was introduced after the November attacks in Paris. 
 
These measures included heightened security at the entrance of school buildings, limiting crowds at school gates and increased surveillance.
 
Wednesday's new proposals saw the creation of compulsory security exercises, including the simulation of a terrorist attack in schools for all children aged three and older.
 
The mock attacks will be turned into a game for the youngest children, reported Le Parisien newspaper, to ensure they don't associate the exercises with fear. 
 
Other measures to be introduced will be extensive training of head teachers in crisis situations in a bid to make their crowd control reaction a second nature in the event of an attack. 
 
Teachers will also get an update on their phones to ensure they receive any alert updates. This will be tested as soon as students and teachers go back to school in September.
 
The ministers added that these new measures would prepare teaching staff to react safely and smartly in the case of an attack.
 
The measures come just days after a French MP called on schools to impose a compulsory martial arts programme for students to help with the fear of terrorist attacks. 
 
Safety in schools has been treated as a priority ever since places of education were specifically named as a target by terrorists.  
 
Following the November attacks in Paris, the francophone propaganda magazine of Isis urged parents to "fight" and "kill" teachers of laïcité, the French value of secularism in public places.
 
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