CONFLANS (VG) For several years, teacher Samuel Paty (47) has shown students pictures of the Muhammad cartoons. Now the neighborhood is in mourning.
The incident has shaken political France and the neighborhood. The 47-year-old middle school teacher Samuel Paty was found killed on the street at 5pm on Friday. The puddles in the street where he was killed are still colored red by the teacher’s blood.
The quiet and peaceful neighborhood with small detached houses and lush gardens turned everyday life upside down on Friday afternoon. Hundreds of sad students, parents and teachers gathered outside the school on Saturday to remember and lay flowers for the teacher.
– I was shocked, says Kont Hichem to VG.
He has two children in middle school, both of whom have Paty as a teacher. According to French media, the teacher had shown pictures of the Muhammad caricatures on October 7, during an hour of freedom of expression. Hichem says his daughter was there when the teacher showed the drawings in the same class last year.
MEMORY TIME: Hundreds gathered outside the school to remember the deceased teacher. The students left flowers outside the door of the school.
The son says the teacher was well liked.
– Do you think that the school should stop showing the caricatures?
– No. I talked to the teachers and said they had to do it again. We must be open to criticism and teach children the ability to express themselves critically. I’m for showing it to the kids. We have to show it, there are no taboos, says Hichem.
Witnesses and neighbors need crisis help
The suspected perpetrator is an 18-year-old man born in Moscow in 2002. According to France Info, he was shot nine times and killed by police near the school. He was unknown to the security services that accompany radicalized Frenchmen.
Outside the school, teachers went on Saturday with posters with # hunterteacher on.
At a crisis center 10 minutes from the school, Mayor Thibault Humbert stands and receives distinguished witnesses and neighbors. The teacher lived in Eragny and the murder took place right on the border between Eragny and Conflans-Saint-Honorine, where the school is located.
– There are several who drove by and saw the body of the victim. He was left there alone by the police, who had to chase the perpetrator. They had to continue the hunt for the terrorist, the mayor points out.
– So there are people, neighbors too, who saw the body and were very shocked. It was a body with its head on its side, he points out, to emphasize how difficult this is for the witnesses and the local community.
The students have school holidays now in the future, over the All Saints’ Day celebration, but the mayor points out that they will receive crisis help.
– How do you talk to the students about this?
– It is very hard. I’m not a psychologist, but it will be very difficult, says Humbert.
– Everyone can be affected by terrorism
The attack on two journalists at Charlie Hebdo’s old offices a few weeks ago was also a solo attack with simple weapons. The mayor points out that it is very challenging.
–– Everyone can be affected by terrorism, because it happens so individually now. Terrorism is everywhere and everyone can be affected. Eragny has a peaceful community and we have not had any problems with radicalization here, the mosque here is very moderate, the mayor points out.
Nine people have so far been arrested after the attack. The police have, among other things, brought in the parents of the 18-year-old, as well as a little brother and a grandparent. However, both the mayor and the school parent VG meet mention another who has been arrested: A parent who went hard on the teacher in a video online.
After the class where the caricatures were shown, a parent made a video in which he said that this teacher should no longer be allowed to teach. According to French media, this man is among those arrested.
French prosecutors say the man went to the police with his daughter and filed a complaint for “pornographic images” during the lesson, because the prophet was allegedly naked in one of the images. However, the police have not indicated that the man had anything to do with the planning of the attack itself.
Hichem saw this video as it circulated in the neighborhood. He says he was waiting for something to happen. The school is said to have received “threatening telephones” before the attack.
– To be honest, when I saw the video that was posted … Then I thought it would trigger something,
– But even if the teacher offended the prophet, it is a matter between him and God. It’s not between you and him, says Hichem.