The French President has outlined controversial plans to tackle growing violence in schools. They include allowing teachers to search students’ bags, installing more CCTV cameras and introducing security barriers. The President also favours creating mobile response teams that schools could call in case of trouble.He said: “They will be open to retired police officers and also to volunteers from different walks of life with experience and qualifications. They will carry out specific tasks, particularly to maintain security in and around schools.” The plans come amid a spate of attacks on teachers and students that have made newspaper front pages. But many teachers’ unions say the problem stems from government-imposed staff cuts and that a security crackdown is not the answer. One headmaster in Strasbourg said: “I have never needed to physically search pupils in school. When we have a problem, when we know there’s something hidden in a bag, we tell the pupil to open it there and then. In general that works well.” Sarkozy says he wants to make school a sanctuary. His political opponents say the new measures are just an attempt to prevent the conservative vote swinging to the extreme right in the upcoming European elections.
France plans to beef up school security