A teenage student fatally stabbed a teacher in the middle of a lesson at a school in southwestern France, the regional prosecutor said.
The 52-year-old Spanish teacher was teaching a class at the school in the seaside resort of Saint-Jean-de-Luz when the 16-year-old attacked her with a knife on Wednesday
“I didn’t see him get up but I saw him in front of the teacher, he was very calm,” fellow classmate Ines, 16, told reporters, reports RTE.
The teacher received emergency help at the scene but died from her injuries.
The student was arrested and a murder investigation was launched.
A source familiar with the matter said that by the time police arrived at the scene at around 9.50 am, the attacker had been disarmed and the other students had been separated, reports RTE.
He carried a blade about 10 cm long.
The school, Saint-Thomas d’Aquin, is a private, Catholic establishment close to the center of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, one of France’s favorite summer resorts on the sandy coast of the Basque Country.
A representative of the FEP-CFDT teachers’ union said the teachers had taught at the school for long hours and were “conscientious”, reports RTE.
By lunch time, students had started leaving the campus after being locked in their classrooms for nearly two hours following the incident.
French Education Minister Pape Ndiye said he was “extremely upset” by the teacher’s death.
Government spokesman Olivier Veran said he could “barely imagine the trauma that this represents at a local level and more generally on a national scale,” reports RTE.
BFM TV channel said the attacker closed the classroom door and stabbed the teacher in the chest.
The channel quoted a source as saying that the boy then told another teacher that a “voice” told him to take action.
The investigation was to determine his psychological state and motivations.
No details have been released about his past.
Such school attacks are generally rare in France, but there has been growing concern about the safety of teachers.
In the past 40 years, there have been less than a dozen fatal attacks on schools.
The attack in Saint-Jean-de-Luz is the first killing of a teacher in France since the beheading of Samuel Paty by an Islamist fundamentalist outside Paris in October 2020.
“I’m very sad, it could have happened to me, it can happen to any teacher. That’s why I came immediately,” Maha Bargueche, a mathematics teacher from the Paris region said, reports RTE.
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