“Shameful”: French government over letter sent to family of schoolboy who committed suicide

A threatening letter sent by local education authorities to the parents of a boy who committed suicide following a bullying complaint has embarrassed the French government. Nicolas, a 15-year-old boy, committed suicide on September 5, a day after returning to class in France after the summer holidays. She actually changed schools for the new term to attend an establishment in Paris, but complained of bullying at her previous school in Poycy, in the Yvelines region, south-west of the capital.

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In this case, the Versailles-based Yvelines regional education authority, instead of expressing sympathy for the family, sent them a letter saying the parents’ statements were “unacceptable” and urging them to adopt a “constructive” approach. He also reminded them that in France the offense could be punishable by five years in prison and a hefty fine of up to 45,000 euros.

Regarding the letter sent in May, Education Minister Gabriel Etelle said, “This letter is shameful. Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne called the letter “shocking” and said “there was a clear failure in the response addressed to extremely concerned parents.” He said inspectors have launched an investigation that will deliver their findings in two weeks, with sanctions possible. The boy first complained in December 2022.

“I have made the fight against bullying an absolute priority,” admitted Attal, who met the boy’s family with first lady Brigitte Macron. Atal, 34, who was reshuffled to become education minister this summer, is seen as one of the most ambitious and effective ministers in President Emmanuel Macron’s government. “The revelation of the threatening letter from the Rectorate shows the failings of national education,” said Le Monde daily.

In an interview with the Journal du Dimanche Sunday paper, the boy’s mother said: “We were victims but we were made guilty.” Versailles prosecutors, who are trying to investigate whether the suicide was directly linked to hooliganism, have warned against drawing any conclusions at this time.

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