Kuala Lumpur Post


12-year-old girl threatens to kill English teacher with knife

RENNES — A 12-year-old schoolgirl threatened a teacher with a knife in an apparent murder attempt at a French school on Wednesday, prosecutors said, the latest incident in the country’s increasingly tense education system.

No one was injured in the incident during English class in the northwestern city of Rennes but prosecutors said they have opened a criminal investigation into attempted murder.

Born in 2011, the schoolgirl “came to class armed with a large knife with the apparent intention of killing her English teacher,” said Rennes prosecutor Philippe Astruc.

“During the lesson, in class, she brandished the knife at the victim who fled running,” before she was disarmed by staff of the Hautes Ourmes junior high school, he added.

“The pupils, shocked, were immediately moved to safety,” the local education authority said.

At a later press conference, Astruc showed drawings of a kitchen knife, which he said was 17 centimetres (6.7 inches) long.

The prosecutor said the girl was undergoing psychiatric examinations in hospital “which will allow us to shed further light on this situation.”

He said it appeared that the “psychological or even psychiatric aspect” seemed to him “dominant in the act.”

The suspect is the eldest of four children in a family of Mongolian origin with residency in France and who arrived in Rennes in 2012.

There have been growing tensions in schools in France, which has large Muslim and Jewish communities, sometimes linked to the war between Israel and Hamas.

In October, a radicalised Islamist stabbed his former teacher to death in the northern town of Arras.

Earlier this week teachers at a school outside Paris refused to work after a group of pupils objected to the showing in class of a painting by Renaissance master Giuseppe Cesari containing several nude women.

Education Minister Gabriel Attal said he gave his “absolute support to the teacher” hailing “the immense courage and composure of the staff on site who were able to react to this threat.”

A young girl from the school told AFP on condition of anonymity that there had been a dispute between the schoolgirl and the teacher who allegedly confiscated her cell phone last Friday.

She said the schoolgirl declared in front of her classmates that she was going to kill the teacher and “do like in Arras” but “no one took her seriously.”

Separately on Wednesday, prosecutors in the Paris suburb of Creteil said they opened an investigation into death threats based on “race, ethnicity, nationality or religion” after a man broke into a creche on Tuesday and threatened its director with a knife.

The man threatened to rape her and made anti-Semitic remarks, the prosecutors added. — AFP

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