Principles of secularism in schools: A 4

The Minister of National Education and Youth, Pap Ndiaye, reaffirms his desire to protect the entire educational community and in particular the teachers threatened in the exercise of their function. Indeed, the rise of phenomena of attacks on secularism, whether manifested by the wearing of outfits signifying a religious affiliation, encouraged in particular on certain social networks, or by violent behavior or remarks, has given rise to concerns legitimate within educational communities and public opinion.

The Minister also wishes to reaffirm the need for systematic sanctions when any attempt at dialogue and education has failed. In order to better support teachers and school heads, their training and specific resources will be reinforced.

In order to ensure transparency on this phenomenon, Pap Ndiaye, Minister of National Education and Youth decided, upon his arrival, to publish monthly the facts of attacks on the principle of secularism which come from schools and educational establishments. . This monthly statement is now a real monitoring and management tool.

Reports of attacks on secularism and the principles of the Republic reported by schools and educational establishments are as follows:

720 reports of violations of the principle of secularism were recorded in the 59,260 schools and secondary establishments during the month of October 2022 (313 in September).

Which establishments?

  • 52% of the facts in colleges (36% in September)
  • 37% in high schools (51%)
  • 11% in the first degree (13%)

Who ?

  • 88% from students (82% in September)
  • 3% from staff (8%)
  • 7% from parents of students (5%)
  • 2% from other authors (5%)

What ?

  • 40% wear signs and outfits (54% in September)
  • 14% verbal provocations (5%)
  • 12% teaching challenge (7%)
  • 10% suspicion of proselytism (8%)
  • 9% rejection of republican values ​​(2%)
  • 6% community demands (7%)
  • 5% refusal of school activity (7%)
  • In addition, 4% correspond to other forms of attacks on secularism (10%)

The category of the wearing of signs and outfits represents 40% of the facts reported mainly concerning the spaces and times of activities outside the classroom. Two situations are identified:

  • Wearing signs ostensibly manifesting a religious affiliation;
  • The wearing of outfits that do not by nature manifest a religious affiliation, such as long skirts or dresses, abayas and qamis.

In addition, the Values ​​of the Republic academic teams (EAVR), which provide the necessary help and support to educational teams to enforce the principle of secularism in schools, received 320 requests for advice (221 in September).

The EAVRs dealt with 80% of the incidents reported (83% in September). The other situations were managed independently by the school and establishment teams.

The circular relating to the Secularism Plan in schools and educational establishments will be published in the Official Bulletin this Thursday, November 10. She foresees :

A plan relating to secularism in 1st and 2nd degree schools, structured around the four axes

  • Sanction systematically and in a graduated manner the behavior of students that undermines secularism when it persists after a phase of dialogue;
  • Strengthen protection and support for personnel;
  • Support the heads of institutions in the event of an attack on secularism;
  • Reinforce the training of personnel and first and foremost that of headteachers.

Sanction systematically and in a graduated manner the behavior of students that undermines secularism when it persists after a phase of dialogue

When he observes behavior likely to undermine secularism, the headteacher begins a phase of dialogue with the pupil and his legal representatives when he is a minor. This dialogue alone can, in many cases, make it possible to dissipate any tension or misunderstanding and thus to unblock situations.
However, when the behavior constitutes a breach of the students’ obligations and persists after this phase of dialogue, the headteacher must initiate a disciplinary procedure.
With regard to the difficulty of qualifying certain facts, and in particular the wearing of clothing with a religious connotation, the heads of establishments are invited to rely more systematically on the expertise of the academic teams of the values ​​of the Republic (EAVR) and new practical sheets will be distributed for them.

Reinforce protection and support for personnel

In the event of an attack on secularism and the values ​​of the Republic, it happens that personnel are implicated or threatened, sometimes seriously. It is essential to provide unfailing and immediate support to personnel so that they can exercise their profession in a protective environment.
In this context, any attack, of any nature whatsoever, or any threat from staff must give rise to a reaction from the educational institution, consisting in reporting the facts, taking precautionary measures and granting functional protection. .

Any criminal offense must give rise to a complaint or report to the Public Prosecutor on the basis of Article 40 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In this regard, it is recalled that the law of August 24, 2021 confirming respect for republican principles created new offenses to guarantee respect for secularism and strengthen the protection of personnel and public officials. The police and gendarmerie services will be systematically called in the event of imminent danger and notified of all serious incidents.

Support headteachers in the event of an attack on secularism

The mobilization and the advisory role of the academic teams values ​​of the Republic in support of the heads of establishments will be supplemented if necessary by the legal services of the rectorates which must be able to provide rapid responses in the event of a manifest emergency. The ministerial services (legal affairs department and defense and security service) can also be mobilized at any time.

Strengthen the training of staff and first and foremost that of school heads

To provide better support to headteachers, in addition to the training offered to all staff, specific training will be organized for them, provided in each academy by the EAVRs who will themselves have received general national training in the as fast as we can.
In addition, the secularism training undertaken for all national education personnel, which has already benefited 130,000 personnel, must continue at the same pace. All staff, permanent or contractual, must have been trained over the next three years.

Principles of secularism in schools: A 4-point plan to better protect the educational community