France rolls out 'mobile security force' for troubled schools

French Education Minister Nicole Belloubet on Friday announced the creation of a national "mobile force" to be deployed to schools facing security issues. The move comes amid a spate of death threats directed at teaching staff.

"This school force will enable struggling establishments to address difficulties over a long period, and is meant to reassure teachers" and education staff, she said during a visit to a vocational high school in Bordeaux, where staff recently faced threats.

According to French press agency AFP, the minister's office said that the team would consist of "around 20 agents from the National Education system".

The team will be operational from the beginning of the 2024 school year, in September.

In the event of a crisis, "it can be deployed nationwide within 48 hours" if local school authorities need additional support, she said.

Hijab row

Schools can already call in "mobile security teams" under a regional system that was established in 2009.

The new unit comes after the principal of the Maurice-Ravel High School in Paris resigned over threats he received after asking a Muslim student to remove her headscarf.

As a result of repeated threats sent via the internal electronic messaging system for schools, the education ministry said the platform would be suspended until further notice.

(with newswires)

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