France teacher stabbed to death by student in class

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Police officers and victim support at the entrance of the school
NOS NewsAmended

A student stabbed a teacher to death at a secondary school in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France. The knife attack this morning was in the classroom where she taught.

A 16-year-old student has been arrested. He told another teacher that he was possessed and heard voices telling him to attack the teacher, a source close to the investigation told Reuters news agency. Prosecutors say there is no terrorist motive. The student would suffer from a mental disorder.

He is suspected of first-degree murder, the prosecutor said after the boy’s initial questioning. He was not known to the police or the judiciary.

The 53-year-old teacher died at the scene of her injuries after being stabbed in the chest. The woman taught Spanish at the Roman Catholic private school.

A student interviewed by France Bleu Pays Basque says the boy hid the knife in paper. “He calmly walked over to her and stuck it in her chest without saying anything.” At that moment, the other students fled the classroom. According to fellow students, the boy had no known problems with the teacher.

Aftercare is arranged at the school for students who need it. About ninety students took advantage of this.


French politicians reacted with horror to the attack. “All of France is in mourning,” said National Assembly President Yaël Braun-Pivet. Education Minister Ndiaye immediately traveled to Saint-Jean-de-Luz, which is located in the extreme southwest of France. He expresses his condolences to the victim’s family and to colleagues and students at the school.

According to Ndiaye, there was nothing beforehand to hint at the attack, but he is wary of jumping to conclusions before the investigation is completed. “A minute of silence will be held at all educational institutions in the country at 3 p.m. tomorrow,” he said at a press conference.

The world of education is also shocked and expresses its condolences to the family of the victim. The woman was a very experienced teacher and was highly regarded by her colleagues and students, says the union of which she was a member.

In October 2020, a shock wave swept through France when a social studies teacher was beheaded on the street in a suburb of Paris. The perpetrator was an 18-year-old Chechen, a Muslim extremist who targeted teacher Samuel Paty for using caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in a lesson on freedom of expression in class.

A colleague and friend of Paty says that he is reliving the nightmare from then and offers condolences to the teacher’s family.

  • Tribute to French teacher Samuel Paty revealed, one year after murder
  • French student (13) admits she lied about decapitated teacher Samuel Paty
  • Another seven suspects arrested for contact with killer French teacher
  • Abroad

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