After the assassination of their teacher, Lola
said to himself “on the verge of tears”. Anna was seething. Guillaume was no longer laughing. A year later, these former students of Samuel Paty confided that they no longer wanted to “depress”. Some even whisper that they want to forget. “I want to forget, I’m trying to start a good year. Last year, it was not phew, ”explains Anna, 14, a few days before the start of a series of tributes to her former teacher, beheaded on October 16, 2020 by a Chechen refugee because he had showed caricatures of Muhammad to his students. “Personally, I don’t need a tribute to get better,” said the teenager. “But if it’s organized, I will go out of respect.”
“One year is enough to mourn”
The attack had taken place the day before the All Saints holidays, in a street near the college in Bois d’Aulne. Six months later, Anna shared her great anger with AFP. Today, she says she wants to “change her mentality”: “I remember the date, I still think a little about that, but I do not necessarily feel sad and angry at all,” she confides. “One year is enough to mourn, especially for someone we weren’t that close to”.
Over the past year, in addition to psychological support, the college has organized several educational projects: meetings with the French Association of Victims of Terrorism, creation of a large “Love” and “Tolerance” fresco, slam workshops, etc.
Entering high school helped Anna even more. “It allows me to be someone else, not to immediately be labeled as a student at Samuel Paty’s college.”
I try to move forward forgetting this event
Many young people prefer not to talk about the attack any more, despite their affection for “Mr. Paty”. In a text, Mélanie apologizes: “Sorry, but going over the past would be too hard for me, I’m trying to move forward by forgetting this event”.
“We don’t talk about it anymore”
In April, another, Mei, had described to AFP an atmosphere of denial “a little heavy” within the college and confessed with disconcerting self-mockery to having nightmares in which she “killed teachers”. Today, she preferred to remain silent before this highly publicized week.
“We don’t talk about it anymore” either with Lise, whose son, a pupil of Samuel Paty, has just graduated from third. “It helps bring down the tensions,” she says. Silence also with Nathalie, who waited a few months before her son Guillaume “laughs again”.
And when Marion initiates a conversation with her daughter to ask her how she is, the latter responds, almost astonished: “Good! Mom, if we don’t move forward, we get depressed ”.
“My daughter does not forget, but she puts it in a corner”, observes Marion. “Mr. Paty remains present for her, but that does not encroach on her life”.
“The month of cut has been good”
On the road to resilience, time is doing its job. The teenager started “thinking about something else” from last spring, her mother recalls. The “cutoff month” of April, the usual extended Easter holidays due to the health crisis, “did some good”.
But in August, anxiety took over. His daughter, who is entering third, is afraid of having lessons in Samuel Paty’s former class.
Lola, 13, has been attending classes regularly since the start of the school year. “It’s hard to be in the room of a person who was there and who isn’t anymore. I say to myself: if it is found, he touched that object. It makes me weird, but it doesn’t make me sad ”.
For several months, Lola was afraid of further attacks. “Now, we are no longer afraid,” assures the student, who does not “even realize” the security gates that now stand in front of the college.
“The Bois d’Aulne has managed to remain a place of life”
“I would even say that the college has forgotten what happened”, loose Lola, before adding, torn: “But it would be good if we did not forget it completely”. “We have a tree in his honor in the middle of the forum, it’s a bit like a grave, and I think that’s good because children are talking next to it”.
“The Bois d’Aulne has managed to remain a place of life”, estimates Cécile Ribet-Retel, president of the association of parents of pupils PEEP of Conflans. “The teachers and our children make it live.”
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