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Radio France Internationale
Radio France Internationale

France bans 85 pupils from school for disrupting tributes to slain teachers

The vast majority of pupils in France's middle and high schools observed a moment of silence in homage to slain teachers Samuel Paty and Dominique Bernard, but 179 incidents were reported and 85 pupils have been permanently excluded from their schools. AP - Daniel Cole

Disciplinary councils within France's Education Ministry have sanctioned 605 pupils following incidents that marred tributes last month to teachers Dominique Bernard and Samuel Paty. 85 students, permanently excluded from their schools, will have to find alternative establishments.

Some 179 incidents of disruption were registered during the minute's silence held in French middle schools and high schools on 16 October in memory of Dominique Bernard and Samuel Paty.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Education announced 454 pupils had been excluded – 85 were permanent, 322 were temporary and 47 were suspended.

The 85 permanent excluded will now have to find alternative schools.

For the most serious acts of protest or disruption, such as the offence of "justification for terrorism", students had already been removed from school immediately after the homage was held.

"These sanctions are first and foremost a commitment kept," Attal said in Thursday's statement.

Making waves

Immediately following the disrupted homage to the teachers, Education Minister Gabriel Attal had promised severe punishments.

"I made a commitment to the French people that I would not let anything go unchallenged, in the name of the memory of Dominique Bernard and Samuel Paty, and in the name of respect for authority in schools.

"Moreover, these unprecedented results are proof that we are well and truly turning the page on the 'Don't make waves' [attitude]," he added.

Dominique Bernard, a teacher of French, was stabbed to death at a school in Arras on 13 October this year, in what the government described as an Islamist terror attack.

History teacher Samuel Paty was murdered near his school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine outside Paris on 13 October 2020 by a young Islamist extremist. Paty had showed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in a class on freedom of expression.

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