School tributes to Samuel Paty spark row over France's core values

French secondary school students in Cenon begin clases with a tribute
French secondary school students in Cenon begin clases with a tribute Copyright AFP/
Copyright AFP/
By Anelise BorgesAFP/AP
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A tribute to the murdered history teacher Samuel Paty has triggered a row over France's core values with diverging views over whether all schools and students should take part


French schoolchildren resumed classes on Monday after a two-week holiday break, with new restrictions requiring six-year-olds to wear masks.

But this return to school was different for most as a minute of silence was held to honour the memory of Samuel Paty, the history teacher who was murdered last month after having shown his pupils caricatures of the Muslim prophet Muhammed.

Invoking France's cherished rights of expression and secularism, officials recalled the country's Enlightenment past as they urged students and teachers alike to look to the future.

``"Samuel Paty taught each child of the Republic to become a free citizen. For him, for our country, we will continue. It is our honour and our duty,'' French Prime Minister Jean Castex wrote in a tweet.

At schools throughout the country, students listened to readings of the letter of Jean Jaures, a 19th-century French thinker and politician, to instructors urging them to teach the country's children to ``know France, its geography and its history, its body and its soul.''

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