Female students are allegedly suffering gender-based violence and parts of the school have become “lawless” areas.
Teachers at the Lycée Gallieni in the southern French city, claim they were not told by the authorities that some of their students were on the S-list, France’s notorious anti-terror watchlist.
A teacher said she had asked security services if any of the students at the school were considered dangerous but she was not given an answer in case she would become too scared to go back to the institution.
One teacher explained how the principal proposed they deal with returning jihadists. “We had, one year, students leaving to try to join the jihad. When they came back, the rectorate told us to use our common sense to manage the problem.”
But the violence at the school has now spiralled out of control, and the teachers decided to strike to let authorities know that they can longer function.
One of the striking teachers said: “Some of us arrive crying in the morning [because] the cafeteria, [and] some corridors have become lawless areas, we must adopt their codes to be able to keep the peace.”
Staff told La Depeche newspaper that physical violence is “commonplace” with fights in class, assaults on staff and it is even claimed that some of the students are involved in drug trafficking.
Teachers are calling for help to “cope with the emergency” as well as recruiting security guards who are “authorised to search” the students.
The eleven Education Assistants (AED) currently working at Lycée Galliéni, are clearly overwhelmed. The high school teachers, who continually alert their superiors, are asking for ten additional AED positions to “manage the flow of students and more effectively monitor the corridors and public spaces of the school”.
Staff also say they want CCTV cameras installed to deter attacks on staff by pupils and to help identify those who commit these acts. They called for “the establishment of cameras as quickly as possible, to deter disturbances to public order and, if necessary, to facilitate the identification of disruptive students”.
“At the high school with 1000 students, we have very specific profiles,” says the teacher. “Some are very voluntary, but we also have a minority that comes from specialised structures, medical, or related to justice: students who come out of prison, who come to class with an electronic bracelet, others who have a criminal record and we are asked to integrate them. We are doing everything so that the powder keg does not explode.”
For the time being, Jacques Caillaut, academic director of the services of the National Education, assured the teachers that they were dealing with the problem. “We are already providing answers, not just when people go on strike,” said the academic inspector.