Mum stabs teacher to death in front of children
A French primary schoolteacher has been stabbed to death in front of her pupils on the last day of term by one of their mothers in an attack described by President Francois Hollande as an "abominable drama".
The woman entered the school in the southwestern town of Albi with a knife and stabbed 34-year-old Fabienne Terral-Calmes in her classroom as pupils arrived at the start of the school day, officials said.
Paramedics tried to save Ms Terral-Calmes, who is the mother of two small girls, but she died from multiple stab wounds around two hours after the assault.
Her attacker fled the scene but was arrested a short time later in her home. It was not immediately clear if the attacker's own child was one of the pupils who witnessed the murder at the Edouard Herriot school, which has round 300 pupils aged from three to 11.
The horrific attack came just over two years after a French Islamist gunman killed three Jewish children and a rabbi in front of a school in the nearby city of Toulouse.
Education Minister Benoit Hamon, who rushed to the scene, said the 47-year-old alleged attacker was a woman who suffered from "serious psychiatric problems".
"This is an odious act, this murder, the killing of a teacher in her classroom," he said.
The alleged assailant has a police record for child neglect and for not reporting a runaway child, RTL radio reported.
Other reports said that during the attack the killer said that her act was justified because "the teacher wasn't nice to my daughter" and that she had shouted, "I am not a thief".
The victim is believed to have been in charge of a class in the kindergarten section of the school.
Police have provided no information on why the mother, who one report said is a Spanish national, had carried out the attack.
The French president said he had learnt of the attack "with dismay" and had ordered his education minister, Benoit Hamon, to immediately travel to Albi.
"All the services of the state have been mobilised to take care of the children and the staff who witnessed this abominable drama," Mr Hollande said.
The incident in Albi, a popular tourist destination, comes amid concerns in France over assaults by parents on teachers.
A survey published this week said that while violence against teachers in France was relatively rare – fewer than 1pc of them said they had been physically attacked – one in 10 school workers said they had been subject to threats and insults. That is twice as many as in any other profession.
The study by the INSEE national statistics agency, which covered the period between 2007 and 2013, said that teachers and other school workers in primary schools were often subjected to threats from adults, notably pupils' parents.
The teachers most affected by abuse were those in their 30s, with women just as likely to be targeted as much as men.
It said that in secondary schools, the threats were more likely to come from pupils themselves. (© Daily Telegraph, London)