School securityFrench schools to hold security drills, including mock terrorist attacks
As part of the French government’s bolstering of security measures in the wake of a series of terrorist attacks, French schools, beginning with the new school year, will now conduct three security drills a year – including at least one drill in which a mock assailants enter the school building.
France’s education minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem and the interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced a series of measures on Wednesday to improve how French schools and children react to terror threats.
Students will be drilled in how to hide or escape, depending on the specific circumstances.
U.S. News & World Report says that all students aged 13-14 and class representatives will receive basic training on life-saving measures such as CPR and how to stop bleeding by using a tourniquet. Vallaud-Belkacem said that currently 30 percent of students have had such training.
Games will be used to teach children aged 2-6 how to hide effectively, keep quiet, and calmly wait for the police to arrive, the education minister said.
“It’s not a question of succumbing to panic or paranoia but simply to face our responsibilities,” Vallaud-Belkacem said, noting Mohamed Merah’s attack on a Jewish school in 2012 in the south-western city of Toulouse. He killed one teacher and three elementary school students, video-taping himself cutting the throat of a 7-year old girl.
Cazeneuve said the plan aims to “prevent the risk of an attack and at the same time guarantee a calm atmosphere in schools.”
The government has already implemented several school security measures following the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. Some police forces patrol school areas, and parents and students are requested to avoid gathering near schools and report anything suspicious.
School principals will meet with parents before the school year begins two weeks for now, and detail the security measures.
The government has also allocated €50 million to help schools pay for security equipment such as CCTVs, video door phones, and new alarm systems.