Sometimes it is absolutely vital to call a spade a spade. There is no good reason to protect the honour or devise a defence for a teacher that incites her class to stand for a minute silence for a known terrorist. It doesn’t matter how troubled this teacher may have been, there was no excuse for this incredibly irresponsible act:
Education Minister Luc Chatel had called for the teacher to be suspended after her class reported she called Merah a “victim” and said his links to Al-Qaeda were invented by the media and “Sarko”, referring to President Nicolas Sarkozy.
“An immediate suspension has been decided along with a ban on entering the school,” the local education authority’s Florence Robine told journalists, adding that the suspension did not imply any guilt.
She “clearly said that Mohamed Merah was a victim, that the link with Al-Qaeda had been invented by the media and ‘Sarko’,” said the letter, a copy of which was published by the Paris Normandie newspaper.
“This is not the political act of an extremist but the act of a colleague who has health concerns, who is fragile and who is receiving psychological treatment,” the local head of the SGEN-CFDT union, Pascal Bossuyt, told AFP.
“She said something unfortunate in a particular context and she immediately regretted what she said,” he added.
Police shot Merah dead on Thursday at his flat in southwest France where he was holed up after going on a jihadist-inspired killing spree. His victims included three young Jewish children and three paratroopers.
It is a shame that “fragile” teachers with “health concerns” are often allowed to practice until they do something inappropriate. This was more than the act of a teacher requiring “psychological treatment.”
This was the act of a teacher who is completely unfit for teaching.