Violence at school is on the rise again

On Tuesday, two 13-year-old boys threatened a teacher with a fake gun at a university in Besançon; in January a gym teacher was hit by a 12-year-old former student in Metz; in October, in Combs-la-Ville (Seine-et-Marne), a teacher was violently pushed around by a high school student who wanted to leave the classroom. After a decline in 2020, the year of the incarceration, school violence has started to rise again. But the number of cases handled by the courts has decreased.

This is very worrying: this degraded climate should not become the norm

This is evidenced by the Autonomous Secular Solidarity (ASL) 2022 barometer, which was unveiled this Sunday. This activist network, which ensures the protection of teaching staff, is taking stock of the school climate based on the 4,732 professional legal protection applications files opened in 2021. crisis (+19% in 2021). All in all, the numbers have changed little over the past five years. “The answers given have not improved the situation, notes Jean-Louis Linder, the vice president of the ASL. This is very worrying: this degraded climate should not become the norm. †

Examination of the files provides an overview of the difficulties encountered by the 485,000 ASL members (almost one in two teachers). Physical attacks remain an ultra-minority (7.5%). Slander, insults and threats account for two-thirds of referrals (63%). “School is not a place where teachers are violently attacked every day, but conflict, insults and more or less strong threats undermine the daily lives of colleagues”regrets Sylvie Guyot, the general secretary of the association.

4,847 requests for legal information

The government may have multiplied the brochures and associated devices in response to the testimonials on Twitter (#Pasdevague) exposing the sluggishness of the hierarchy in 2018, many teachers prefer to turn to ASL. “It’s easier to go to a third party, analyzes Jean-Louis Linder. Especially since with the pandemic the incessant changes in health protocols have led to numerous conflicts with the heads of institutions. † ASL volunteers responded to 4,847 requests for legal information in 2021, almost as many as in 2020. After the murder of Professor Samuel Paty by a terrorist, some are playing it safe. “I have a mother who wants to come to the school council in a veil, can I refuse? †, asks a director. In this case no, the mother participates as a user of the public service.

Parents listen to children a lot. They have less respect for teachers and it degenerates very quickly

Teachers – the largest part of the teaching battalions – make up 70% of legal protection files. But executives, fewer in number, are three times more vulnerable. Primary school is on the front line. The authors are then often the legal representatives (48%) and the students (17%), who do not hesitate to act to challenge a figure or a sanction. “Parents listen to children a lot. They have less respect for teachers and it degenerates very quickly”testifies Dominique Trouvé, referent lawyer for the ASL.

Example ? This couple standing at the gate every morning demanding that the teacher refuse to welcome their child to school without a mask. This mom who belittles a teacher’s classes and physique on Facebook. Or those parents who accuse a school principal of covering up pedophilia. “On the net snowballs defamatory remarks”the lawyer warns. Welcoming children with disabilities can also create tension. Like this mom treating a director from “rotten” because her daughter cannot go on a school outing, due to the lack of a specialized supervisor.

The number of cases handled by the courts has increased from 177 in 2017 to… 36 in 2021

Today, even more than yesterday, very few cases go to court (less than 1% in 2021!). “Teachers are not procedure freaks. I know some who have turned around in front of the police station and said, “Of course the student called me names, but is it really worth it?” †, describes Found Me. The slowness of justice, the multiplicity of steps to be taken, are disheartening. Next, the ASL notes, “There are more and more denials to be taken into account in the police stations,” the police sometimes prefer handrails to making a complaint.

It is also necessary to put an end to the daily disputes that poison the lives of the institutions, beyond the symbolic

Result: the number of cases handled by the courts has increased from 177 in 2017 to… 36 in 2021. Except in very serious cases, Me Found finds that a reminder of the law is more relevant, knowing that contempt of a teacher is punishable by six months in prison and a fine of 7,500 euros. “This solves the problem in 80% of the cases. And the member is relieved that he didn’t take the parents to court! † The ASL, which can file a civil suit, urges: “Justice needs to be more responsive. The treatment of dramatic situations is ready, but it is also necessary to put an end, beyond the symbolic, to the daily disputes that poison the life of the established order. †

The activist network would like to see the functional protection from which any attacked official can benefit automatically be granted. And the most important thing for the ASL is to have cohesive and legally better armed teams. Thanks to a partnership with the Ministry of Education, the association hopes to train its 61,000 supervisory officers in this direction by 2023, half of the officers within five years.

In the meantime, to complete the barometer, it launched a large-scale survey this week among all secondary staff about the school climate and the facts of which they could be victims. Objective: To understand the reality of today’s university and secondary school, to measure the changes since the last study of this type published in 2013, and to identify areas for improvement. A necessity if we want the leagues to become a teacher again.

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