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France: Mom kills kindergarten teacher in class



PARIS (AP) - The mother of a pupil at a French pre-school stabbed a teacher to death in front of her class Friday, the last day of the school year, authorities said.

The education minister said the mother apparently had "serious psychiatric problems," and pledged support for teachers in the face of angry or violent parents. Police said the mother was taken into custody.

Deadly attacks in a school are extremely rare in France, and the stabbing in front of a class of 5- and 6-year-olds raised concern at the highest levels. French President Francois Hollande expressed outrage at the attack at the Edouard Herriot school in Albi in southern France.

Education Minister Benoit Hamon traveled immediately to the school, and told reporters that the mother of a pupil "committed this abominable act in a class against a remarkable teacher." A police official said the mother stabbed the teacher with a knife soon after school started Friday morning.

Hamon said the attacker's child had been in the school only for a month and a half, and the mother had had very little contact with the school staff until Friday. It was unclear whether her 5-year-old daughter was in class at the time of the attack.

Police and city officials would not comment on possible reasons for the attack on Fabienne Terral-Calmès, 34. The slain teacher had two small daughters, Hamon said.

The regional prosecutor was expected to speak publicly about the case Friday evening.

After Friday's attack, "the children were immediately taken in by another teacher who brought them to another classroom to talk to them, to tell them stories, to try to break them away from what they had just lived through," Hamon said.

Marie-Odile Gay, a member of the regional health and safety committee for the Education Ministry, said the mother thought the teacher had called her daughter a thief, and that misperception might have played a role in the attack.

Gay said that the mother, 47, had received psychiatric counseling in the past, and had been accused by police earlier this year of abandoning her 15-year-old son.

Gay said the 5-year-old daughter had not had any difficulties in school, and was transferred Friday to the care of social services.

"This is something that will stay with her forever," Gay said. "It's very important to ensure that she is cared for."

Some teachers complained that staff cuts have left teachers more vulnerable, and urged better attention to the tensions they face with some parents.

But fellow teacher Robert Couffignal of the regional teachers union insisted that the attack was an "isolated case" that had nothing to do with this particular school, and warned against going overboard with security measures as a result.

"Metal detectors at schools are not the answer," he told The Associated Press by telephone. "We want to have close contact with the parents that creates a link of trust."

He said the larger problem for schools in his region and around France is tension over economic decline and lack of job prospects for young people, especially those from poor or immigrant backgrounds.

The education minister lamented the especially painful timing of the attack.

"This July 4, the moment when we should be happy for all children that school is over, that vacations are beginning, that teachers successfully completed the school year, has been turned into a day of mourning ... by this abominable crime," Hamon said.

France still feels scars from a shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse in southern France in 2012 that left three children and a rabbi dead.

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geburuh July 04 2014 at 12:16 PM

THIS MUST REALLY P O AOL THAT A GUN WAS NOT USED

Flag Reply +71 rate up
22 replies
jalls July 04 2014 at 12:32 PM

So sorry that Mr. Holder can't use this for his anti-gun propaganda campaign! He'll likely say, yah, "But she wanted to use a gun...."

Flag Reply +61 rate up
18 replies
wnagle53 July 04 2014 at 3:14 PM

Why is it not being reported that the mother is a MUSLIM, and the teacher was white.
Look it up for yourselves.
WAKE UP PEOPLE !

Flag Reply +57 rate up
22 replies
Mary Ann July 04 2014 at 12:25 PM

How sad for the teacher and her family, as well as the little girl who;s mother killed the teacher. How frightening this must have been for the children who witnessed this horrible act.

Flag Reply +55 rate up
4 replies
BRUCE July 04 2014 at 12:22 PM

You can sure tell it wasn't in America...otherwise it would have been a gun, and half the students would be dead.

Flag Reply +42 rate up
32 replies
Jacknyd July 04 2014 at 12:25 PM

Obama is listening, He will undoubtedly ask for a ban on Knifes.

Flag Reply +41 rate up
23 replies
tylerbeach2002 July 04 2014 at 12:22 PM

Okay so it's not just America where weird violence happens. It happens in France too.

Flag Reply +31 rate up
12 replies
xraybrain July 04 2014 at 12:20 PM

France really ought to mave mandatory background checks on knive purchases

Flag Reply +29 rate up
11 replies
LMetz11822 July 04 2014 at 12:43 PM

I am sure that the gun advocates will be out in force claiming that if only the kindergarteners had a concealed weapon then this could have been prevented.

Flag Reply +16 rate up
21 replies
ram4131 July 04 2014 at 12:32 PM

You really screwed up your daughter for life, lady. I'll raise a glass of Merlot to your being fileted in prison.

Flag Reply +12 rate up
4 replies
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