In disturbing scenes at Gustave Flaubert High School in Rouen, Normandy, Lorraine Collin, 56, described the 23-year-old who murdered seven including three children as himself being the ‘victim of an unhappy childhood’.
UK DAILY EXPRESS (H/T Martin)This prompted up to 15 pupils aged between 17 and 18 to storm out of their classroom and report Ms Collin to their headmaster. Luc Chatel, France’s Education Minister, called for Ms Collin to be ‘suspended immediately’, saying he ‘condemned this unspeakable behaviour without reservation’. It came as Merah’s elder brother said he was ‘very proud’ of what his brother had done, hailing him as someone who fought for what he believed in.
Merah was gunned down by special forces police yesterday after three separate attacks which saw four die at a Jewish school, along with three soldiers from ethnic minorities who had fought in Afghanistan.
Ms Collin drew attention to the fact that Merah was from a disadvantaged French-Algerian immigrant background and had been drawn to Islamic extremism while serving a prison sentence. Merah said he had shot three youngsters at the Jewish school in Toulouse on Monday in revenge for Palestinian children killed by the Israeli Army.
Referring to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Ms Collin even said that Merah’s links with Al-Qaeda had been ‘invented by the media and Sarko.’ It was only when her students began to leave, or to argue with her, that she appeared to back down, saying she was ‘not feeling too well and perhaps take some time off.’
Ms Collin’s comments were soon afterwards reported by the Paris Normandie news website, who quoted an unnamed parent saying: ‘The students acted as responsible citizens by leaving the classroom. They hope the teacher will be suspended. ‘Otherwise, I will give permission for my daughter to boycott English classes until the end of the year.’
A spokesman for the school said what happened was a ‘sad incident’, and that a disciplinary procedure was underway. Meanwhile hundreds of people participated in a minute of silence to pay tribute to the victims of the Toulouse school and three French soldiers, at the Capitol square in Toulouse.