In the wake of a recent teacher's murder and heightened tensions related to the Gaza conflict, French schools are set to implement panic buttons to enhance security measures. The decision comes after the tragic stabbing of 57-year-old teacher Dominique Bernard outside his secondary school in Arras, northeastern France, by a former student who had pledged allegiance to Daesh.
Panic Buttons in schools
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne emphasized the need for a nationwide introduction of panic buttons to alert authorities in case of terrorist attacks, The Times reported. While some towns and cities in France already utilize panic buttons in schools, the government aims to standardize this security measure across the country.
Education unions have expressed diverse opinions on the matter. Sophie Venetitay, the general secretary of a secondary school teachers' union, cautioned against turning schools into "bunkers." On the other hand, Maxime Rieppert, deputy chairman of another union, welcomed the move, stating, "All measures are welcome."
Security measures amidst rising threats
As tensions escalate due to the Gaza conflict, France has experienced a surge in fake bomb threats, including those directed at schools. Cities like Nice have already implemented panic buttons in schools, with alarms triggering a response from the local urban surveillance center. This center can listen in on audio from schools and, if necessary, alert the police to the site. The move aims to strike a balance between ensuring the safety of students and educators without transforming schools into fortresses.