Tribute from teachers and residents of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine to the murdered professor on Friday.
In Conflans, parents and pupils of Samuel Paty pay homage to the murdered teacher and describe a very invested professor seeking to develop the critical judgment of his pupils.
They arrived, white roses in hand, some carrying candles, others a sign with white letters on a black background: “I’m a teacher. # I defend freedom of expression ”. It is 11:30 am in front of the Bois-d’Aulne college, in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines). A hundred teachers, students, parents of students progress towards the entrance of the establishment, followed by a swarm of journalists and cameras. They cross the cordon of CRS surrounding the premises, pass under the republican motto “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” and the tricolor flag, before rushing into the premises, to pay homage to Samuel Paty, the history-geography professor murdered less than twenty-four hours ago.
“It’s a drama”whispered in a low voice Gautier Armel, municipal councilor of Conflans. “It’s a horror, it’s unreal”, adds Martine Boutaric, also elected from the city. Marie, 39, mother of Paul, in fifth grade in the college: “I am dismayed, sad for our school.” She searches for her words: “We must be able to think, draw, write. I would like the school of the Republic to be able to live freely, for this motto inscribed on our pediments to continue to be inspiring. ” Many adolescents are present, like Ilyes, a student in third class: “I had Monsieur Paty on Friday morning in class. He was a nice, funny teacher, he made you want to learn. In history class, even those who did not like school paid attention. ”
“He was a loyal and benevolent person”
The teacher had taken the time to explain himself this week, with his other classes, about the drawings shown to the fourth students a few days before and which had triggered a violent campaign against him on social networks. “With him, we had intelligent debates”, summarizes Ilyès. “He was a loyal and benevolent person”, simply says Marie, 39, a parent. Some people remember the stimulating debates that could be triggered by the teacher’s lessons, who also organized an exhibition of drawings at the CDI on the theme “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”. “It didn’t shock us, neither did our children”, insists Najatte, Ilyes’ mother.
Video: Professor killed in Conflans-Saint-Honorine: “We no longer know what to do. Are we no longer sending our children to school? ” (Dailymotion)
Jean-Philippe, now in second grade in a city high school, is 15 years old. Until last June, he was a pupil of Samuel Paty. The young man speaks in a hushed voice, almost trembling under his black leather jacket. “I realize that Monsieur Paty had been under pressure for a week because of this controversy over a course devoted to caricatures. I would have liked very much to support him, if I had known. But this morning, it is too late. I only have my despair. “ He remembers a teacher “Very invested in his courses, whether those in history-geography or EMC [enseignement moral et civique, ndlr]».
“He always made his lessons a moment of debate, never directing them towards any party, explains the teenager. He took care of his approaches, built bridges between the different subjects, showing the evolutions of the history of ideas, anchoring them in the context of the time. “ Jean-Philippe, who has no recollection of a course specifically dedicated to the issue of caricatures, particularly appreciated the “Analyzes of works of art, paintings, music, films”. “His goal was to get everyone to think, while respecting others.” The CME classes, which he had been taking since year six, were in his eyes a way of thinking about “Freedom of expression, the right to blasphemy”: “It is extremely unfair to be murdered when it was a question of defending everyone’s freedom.”
“Never has a teacher been assassinated for what he taught”
Dorothée, her mother, remembers a teacher “Very appreciated, respectful, benevolent”. A man “Very committed”, she said, who spared no effort during confinement to keep in touch with her students, sending them numerous emails to continue the work started, not hesitating to engage in “A personal and constructive relationship” with adolescents. “He had loaned comics to my son”, she recalls. In this establishment “Without stories”, she would never have imagined such a drama.
Benedict and her husband Lionel also came to the Bois-d’Aulne College to gather. She teaches French in a college in Andrésy, he teaches history and geography in Herblay, two municipalities near Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. Their daughter, “A year and a half ago”, attended the lessons of the murdered professor. “An excellent teacher, who knew how to fascinate his students and had never aroused controversy.” This morning they feel “A bit like the day of the attack on Charlie Hebdo. We are struck in our city, in our hearts, in the midst of our children. It is our job that is being called into question ”.
On a daily basis, they see the difficulties surrounding the “freedom of expression”. Lionel puts it like this: “There are situations where regularly, it hangs. We should not generalize, it only concerns a few students, but I remember, for example, discussions around the attacks against Charlie. In essence, some were saying, “It can’t be done, but still, they looked for it.”” The «dialogue» should allow “Overcome blockages”, more “Sometimes we realize that for some students, the values of Islam transcend those of the Republic”. He concludes: “Religious sensitivity is stronger than the rest.”
These conflicts, nuance his wife, are “science”: “That there are heated debates is good, it is the purpose of the school to talk about these things. All the more so with teenagers who are not always in diplomacy. ” Lionel now wonders about the “Risk of self-censorship” who could touch him and his colleagues. “Never has a teacher been murdered for what he taught. There will be a before and after October 16. For history and geography teachers, but also those of French, philosophy, SVT. For everyone.”