Assaults on the rules of secularism are on the rise in faculties

In the second quarter of this year, 144 violations of the principles of secularism were found in schools. A recurrence that has been observed since last December.

There are more and more violations of the principles of secularism in schools. According to a note from the Central Territorial Intelligence Service discovered by RTL and managed by BFMTV to consult, 144 facts were reported in the second quarter of 2022. The number is sharply higher than in the previous period, when 97 facts were reported.

These facts, which have been on the rise since December 2021, range from wearing ostentatious religious symbols or religious suits to disputes over teaching, especially during history lessons, through refusing to participate in activities such as swimming pools or even proselytism and verbal provocations. Since the beginning of the year, there has also been a strong revival in the wearing of veils or traditional garments such as abaya, kami or djellabe.

“We are in the process of gathering and reporting a certain amount of information so that we have a very synthetic vision of this situation and so that we can calmly characterize and assess the phenomenon at the national level,” Pap Ndiaye, minister, said on Tuesday.


The Territorial Intelligence Service suggests several ways to explain this increase. The electoral context marked by the emergence of candidates who are openly hostile to Islam and controversy over religious symbols such as the Grenoble vote approving the wearing of burkinis in municipal swimming pools may have sparked community tensions among some Muslims. Islamist activists have also addressed these topics on social media.

In a broader sense, this challenge to secularism would also be a symptom of a rejection of established authority. Many students try to negotiate with the principals. The Tiktok social network has also been singled out and would play a big role in this rise as some students encourage their classmates to come to school covered or dressed in abayas as a challenge.

However, according to an article published in the newspaper L’Opinion in which this phenomenon is recorded without quantification, this increase in reported facts would be explained by the fact that the teaching body and staff of National Education are more inclined to report incidents in the community to their hierarchy. the assassination of Samuel Paty.

Teachers worried

The proliferation of these incidents worries teaching staff, who are often targeted by students and even parents. The latter are now using social networks to condemn the stigma that their children would be subjected to, write the police officers of the territorial intelligence service. Thus, messages were published in Rouen against a teacher by name, accused of being “against the veil”. In Lyon, a physical education teacher was appointed on Twitter because of her “racism”.

There are laws, republic laws that prohibit the wearing of conspicuous and proselytizing religious symbols in schools. The law is very clear on this issue, reminds the Minister of Public Education. In each rectory there are teams “Values ​​de la République” working on these issues. , so we are very well equipped to respond to this phenomenon. It remains for us to assess it at the national level, “he concluded.

Faced with this concern, the Territorial Intelligence Service believes that this wave of violations of the principles of secularism should lose in intensity, especially in the summer. However, caution will be exercised at the beginning of the school year in September.

Cécile Ollivier in JC

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