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Whatever Happen To COMMON SENSE?
A French teacher was suspended Friday for allegedly urging her class to observe a minute’s silence for serial killer Mohamed Merah, the day after he was shot dead by police.
Education Minister Luc Chatel had called for the teacher to be suspended after her class reported she called Merah a “victim” and said his links to Al-Qaeda were invented by the media and “Sarko”, referring to President Nicolas Sarkozy.
“An immediate suspension has been decided along with a ban on entering the school,” the local education authority’s Florence Robine told journalists, adding that the suspension did not imply any guilt.
Student representatives in the final year class in the northern city of Rouen wrote to the principal to voice “shock” at being urged in an English lesson to pay respect to a self-declared Al-Qaeda militant who killed seven people.
Most of the class walked out, though some remained “to try to understand what she was talking about,” their letter said.
She “clearly said that Mohamed Merah was a victim, that the link with Al-Qaeda had been invented by the media and ‘Sarko’,” said the letter, a copy of which was published by the Paris Normandie newspaper.
“This is not the political act of an extremist but the act of a colleague who has health concerns, who is fragile and who is receiving psychological treatment,” the local head of the SGEN-CFDT union, Pascal Bossuyt, told AFP.
“She said something unfortunate in a particular context and she immediately regretted what she said,” he added.
Police shot Merah dead on Thursday at his flat in southwest France where he was holed up after going on a jihadist-inspired killing spree. His victims included three young Jewish children and three paratroopers.
Following the attack on the Jewish children, schools around France held a minute’s silence in their memory.
The teacher was not immediately available to comment.