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French teachers given 'alarm bracelets' over terror fears

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French teachers given 'alarm bracelets' over terror fears
Photo: AFP
11:19 CEST+02:00
Teachers in southern France's Aix-en-Provence have been given emergency alarm bracelets through which they can alert police in a bid to improve security.
Could this be the future at all French schools?
 
For the past week, teachers at 74 kindergartens and primary schools in Aix-en-Provence have been armed with the latest security development - an emergency bracelet.
 
The bracelet, which can be worn around the neck or wrist, features a large orange button that, when pressed, will raise the alarm at local police stations and throughout the school.  
 
The bracelet is intended to prompt a quicker response time in case of attack or an intrusion, a move that local authorities believe could prove vital in saving lives among the city's school population of over 9,400 kids and teachers.  
 
The alarm is different to that of a fire alarm and can be tracked directly to where it was set off, perfect for a quick response in a larger school.
 
Authorities handed out around 800 bracelets in total this week, at a cost of €160,000, reported L'Express newspaper.
 
René Schaller, the education coordinator at the local town hall,  said she hoped the move would reassure parents.
 
"The psychosis I feel is in the letters I get from parents asking me to build walls in front of the schools, or to deploy police in front of each building," she said. 
 
She added that she had already been contacted by four other towns interested in a similar move. 
 
While such a move may seem excessive to some, French schools have been a known target of terrorists since late last year. 
 
The Islamic State's French-language magazine Dar-al-Islam called for its followers to kill teachers in the French education system, describing them as "enemies of Allah".
 
"This education, in the case of France in particular, is a means of propaganda used to impose the corrupt way of thought established by the Judeo-masonry," it said in November.
 
"Muslims must know the French education system is built against religion and Islam as the only religion of truth cannot cohabit with this fanatic secularism," read the propaganda.
 
Lycees in Paris and Bordeaux have the been the subject of security alerts in recent months after hoax bomb calls were made.
 
 
Despite being false alarms the alerts that led to evacuations (see photo above), the incidents highlighted how headteachers and local authorities are taking the threat level seriously.
 
At the start of the school year this month the government introduced a raft of measures aimed at boosting security, including a plan for schools to carry out mock attack exercises.
 
Ministers revealed new security measures on Wednesday based upon three key principles: "Anticipate, get safe, know how to react"
 
These measures also included heightened security at the entrance of school buildings, limiting crowds at school gates and increased surveillance.
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