Much loved and engaged teacher Samuel Paty, who was beheaded by a teenager in a Paris suburb on Friday, enjoyed getting his students to debate issues such as free speech.
As part of a civics and ethics class this month, Paty, 47, showed the class cartoons of Prophet Mohammed – the hottest topic in France since the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine which has released the images were attacked in 2015..
But his lesson sparked a new controversy that culminated in a crime that rocked France, a country traumatized by a wave of Islamist violence and questioning its modern identity.
The father of a student at the school was so outraged by the lesson that he demanded during a meeting with the school administration that the teacher be fired and launched a social media campaign to invite him to go.
The man posted the teacher’s name and school address on social media, insisting it was time to “say stop”. He also went with his daughter to the police to file a complaint against Paty.
According to counterterrorism prosecutor Jean-François Ricard, the first evidence suggests that the assailant loitered outside the school on Friday afternoon and asked the students where he could find the victim.
Paty was attacked on his way home from school in Conflans-Saint-Honorine, a generally quiet northwestern suburb about 30 kilometers from central Paris.
The father behind the videos and the campaign to get the teacher fired is one of nine people detained in Friday’s attack.
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer condemned the video posted by the father, saying it was “totally scandalous” and made with the aim of “ending with something possibly violent”.
“There must be a unity in the adult world” on “the pride of the values of the Republic”, he added, “Each child must understand that he has the chance to go to school in France and live in a democracy “.
Dozens of students and parents gathered on Saturday to lay flowers and show solidarity.
“He was great, very supportive and a good listener,” said Hugo, a former student.
“Everyone gave their opinion during their lessons, it was great, now you have to continue, you must not give in,” said another student, who asked not to be named.
Students and parents insisted that Paty was not trying to provoke by showing the cartoons.
“He did not do this to create arguments or to disrespect,” says Nordine Chaouadi, whose 13-year-old son enjoyed Paty’s lessons. “My son said to me, ‘He was super nice, that man.’
The presidency said a national tribute day would be held on a date to be agreed with the teacher’s family.
“One of our fellow citizens was assassinated today because he was teaching, because he advocated among his students the freedom of expression, the freedom to believe and not to believe”, declared President Emmanuel Macron after his visit to the scene.
(This story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)