"In primary schools, there is no disciplinary council, and in the event that it is necessary to separate the harassing student from the bullied student, we arrive at a situation that is not normal, by which it is the bullied student who must leave," explained the minister on RTL.

"We can change things and that's what I'm going to propose," via "a regulatory change": "as a last resort, when all solutions have been exhausted (...), the bully student can be schooled in another school, regardless of the opinion of the parents, if the mayor or mayors concerned agree," he added.

"We first try to reconcile", and "in the final analysis, if it does not work", we can decide "that it is the bully student, and not the bullied student, who will have to be schooled in another school", detailed the minister, recalling that the children concerned (in elementary school) are between 6 and 11 years old.

Nearly one in ten students is bullied during their schooling, according to ministry figures. This subject has been the subject of increased awareness since the National Conference against Bullying in Schools in 2011.

A prevention device in elementary and middle schools, the pHARe program, has been tested from 2019 in six academies, planned to be generalized at the beginning of the 2022 school year to all elementary schools and colleges. At present, "60% of schools and 86% of colleges are engaged in this program," said the minister.

It provides in particular for the formation of a reference team of five people per college and per primary school district, the training of student ambassadors in colleges and ten hours of training per year for children, from CP to 3e, devoted to the prevention of bullying and the development of psychosocial skills.

The minister announced on RTL that this phARe program would also be "generalized to high schools at the beginning of the next school year".

"We have data on the six academies where this program has been tested, which shows a decrease in the number of cases of harassment and a shorter time in dealing with harassment. So we know it's good. We have to move forward," he said.

© 2023 AFP