Close to 400 incidents of terrorism glorification reported in French schools last month

There were nearly 400 incidents relating to the glorification of terrorism reported in educational institutions across France last month, according to the country’s education ministry. 

The French Ministry of National Education reported 393 of such incidents taking place between the Nov. 4 and Nov. 30, with most of them relating to provocations, protests, or apologies for terrorism, 20 Minutes France reports.

The ministry also noted that from Oct. 16 — the day French teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded outside of his school by a Chechen Islamist migrant after showing a cartoon of the Islamic Prophet Mohammad — to Nov. 3, 400 incidents relating to the glorification of terrorism were recorded.

While nearly half (48 percent) of the recorded incidents taking place at middle schools, 23 percent occurred at primary schools, 18 percent at high schools, and 11 percent at vocational colleges.

Ninety percent of the of incidents were carried out by pupils, while the rest involved the parents of pupils or other individuals outside of educaitonal institutions. There was even one incident which involved municipal staff.

As of Nov. 18, the reported incidents had resulted in 44 permanent expulsions, 131 temporary suspensions, 4 formal reprimands, and 48 warnings. Additionally, 286 incident reports were referred to the police and gendarmeries, while 136 reports were referred to public prosecutors.

As previously reported by Remix News, a number of Muslim students, some as young as 10 years old, have been arrested for threats made to teachers or other acts in support of Islamic terrorism. In another incident, 14-year-old students threatened to cut off a teacher’s head as they “did to Paty”. Investigations also continue into the students at the school that was directly connected with the murder of Paty, including into leads that a large number of students were involved in aiding the terrorist act. 

In its report, the General Inspectorate of Education (IGAENR) noted that schools responded adequately to the incidents. At the same time, however, the state’s education inspection body emphasized that schools had failed to monitor students’ social media posts closely enough.

“The reconstruction of the course of events tends to show that, both at the level of the establishment, as well as at the departmental and academic levels, responsive measures were taken to manage the disturbance initially caused by the course on the freedom of expression of Samuel Paty,” writes the General Inspectorate of Education.

The 22-page report underlined the significant role social media played in the dissemination of information about Paty after he had showed his class cartoons which depicted the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.

“It appears necessary to set up or increase the power of monitoring cells for social networks,” the report says.

Lastly, the report recommended that the “fluidity and reciprocity of the exchange of information between the different levels of the services of the Ministry of National Education and those of the Ministry of the Interior” are both increased in such a way that it allows for the “degree of seriousness of an incident” to be properly assessed.

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