Europe 1 10:55 a.m., December 11, 2023

While the number of attacks and threats against teachers has continued to increase in recent years, the murders of Samuel Paty and Dominique Bernard have provoked a sense of fear among teachers. Invited by Europe 1 Matin, Jean-Pierre Obin, author of the book "Les profs ont peur", believes that "there is a before and after this trauma that was the assassination of Samuel Paty".

Aggression, pressure, threats... The number of violent acts against teachers has been steadily increasing for several years. The murder of Samuel Paty in 2020, and that of Dominique Bernard last October have caused a sense of fear among teachers of all levels. For Jean-Pierre Obin, former Inspector General of National Education and author of the book Les profs ont peur (published by the Observatory), "there is a before and after this trauma that was the assassination of Samuel Paty," he explains to Europe 1 Matin.

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According to the former inspector, teachers "are afraid of a certain number of situations that are most often attacks on secularism, incidents in class. Six out of ten would be afraid to show caricatures of religious figures to their students, five out of ten would be afraid to talk about the motives for the assassination of Samuel Paty with their students... And at the end of the day, eight out of ten teachers are afraid of a situation where religion is present and students contest this or that aspect of their lessons," explains Jean-Pierre Obin.

"The main protests relate to the teaching of values"

In his book, he also reveals that of the approximately 850,000 teachers in France, 100,000 suffered a physical or verbal attack last year. According to Jean-Pierre Obin, teachers from all regions, all levels of education and all disciplines are concerned. "25% of teachers today say they have experienced a challenge to primary school lessons," he said. "And if we go to the other extreme, which is to say those who teach in priority education networks, two-thirds of them say they have already censored themselves."

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For Jean-Pierre Obin, the death of Samuel Paty and the weeks that followed, including the return of students to class, were "a traumatic episode for many of them". According to him, there are several sensitive topics that professors no longer dare to talk about in class. "I thought, like many others, that the main difficulties taught were, for example, the Holocaust, Darwin's theory, etc. The main difficulties, the main challenges, relate to the teaching of values, that is to say, for example, the mixing of girls and boys, equality between men and women, freedom of expression, secularism...", he explains.

He also denounced the lack of reaction from the Ministry of Education. "I show [in the book Teachers Are Afraid] that in all the reports that are revealed, the number is probably much lower than one in 100 compared to reality. We are in a ratio of more than one in 100. That is to say, the number of attacks on real secularism in the classrooms is 100 times higher than what the ministry announces," Jean-Pierre Obin told Europe 1 radio.