IR INSIDER

Powered by IR Society at NYU

IR Insider is a production of NYU's International Relations Society. Our goal is to explain and discuss issues in IR in an engaging and thought-provoking fashion. We are written by students, for students, about issues students care about. 

Shock in France After Student Threatens Teacher With Fake Gun

A 15-year-old male student in France was charged with aggravated violence for threatening his teacher with a fake gun. The student made the threats on Thursday at his high school in Creteil, a southeastern suburb of Paris. The student, whose name remains confidential, appeared before a youth judge on Sunday.

A video taken by a classmate and uploaded to Snapchat went viral and appalled citizens throughout France. In the video, the student holds the faux weapon near his teacher’s head as she remains calm and unfazed at her computer while another student makes indecent gestures in the background.

A high school student in Creteil, France threatens his teacher with a fake gun. Photo:  Metro

A high school student in Creteil, France threatens his teacher with a fake gun. Photo: Metro

The student can be heard in the video telling his teacher, “You’ve marked me absent. Mark me as present.” In response to questioning about the incident, the student claimed that he was only joking and was upset that the teacher had marked him absent when he was only late for class. His teacher filed a complaint with the police on Friday, and, accompanied by his father, the student turned himself in to police later that day.

Several political leaders condemned the incident and expressed concern about the safety of French schools. Marine Le Pen, president of France’s National Rally, tweeted that the quiet composure of the teacher and the failure of the school to make an immediate complaint, “suggests that this type of incident is regular.”

President Emmanuel Macron tweeted on Saturday that it is “unacceptable” to threaten a teacher and instructed his ministers to avoid a repeat of the incident by “all necessary measures.” At a visit to an eastern Paris police station, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner proclaimed that “School is the cradle of the Republic and it is where we learn to respect the Republic,” and promised “to recapture the Republic square meter by square meter.”

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and President Emmanuel Macron both condemned the incident in tweets. Photo: Twitter/ Résistance Républicaine

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and President Emmanuel Macron both condemned the incident in tweets. Photo: Twitter/Résistance Républicaine

In a shared comment Sunday, Oct. 21, Castaner and Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer announced they would hold a high-level meeting in the upcoming week to end violence in low-income suburb schools.

So far, France has not experienced the kind of school violence that plagues the United States and other parts of Europe. However, all this outrage comes after the March 2017 shooting in Grasse, France, in which a 17-year-old student was arrested after firing several weapons in a school attack in which the principal and three students were physically injured. Concerned citizens and politicians hope this trend of school violence will not continue to occur in France.