French stabbed teacher: Children and parents pay tribute

Image source, AFP
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There is a widespread sense of shock at the incident which unfolded in front of small children

Children and parents have returned to a primary school in the southern French town of Albi to pay tribute to a teacher stabbed to death in front of her class by a pupil's mother.

They laid flowers and drawings, one reading "Adieu to a great teacher".

Fabienne Terral-Calmes, 34, was attacked at the Edouard Herriot school on Friday morning.

Psychologists have been deployed at the school. The suspect, 47, is said to have a "serious psychiatric disorder".

The attack came on the last school day before the summer break, when Ms Terral-Calmes was teaching her class, believed to be aged five to six. She herself was the mother of two young children.

President Francois Hollande pledged that all the services of the state would be "mobilised to take care of these children and the staff who witnessed this awful tragedy".

Throughout the morning on Saturday, groups of parents accompanied by children arrived at the school, placing bouquets of flowers and drawings, praising "a beautiful woman, nice and generous".

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Streams of parents and children arrived at the school on Saturday morning
Image source, AFP
Image caption,
They left flowers and drawings to remember a 'nice and generous' teacher
Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Some were visibly upset at returning to the scene of the attack

Psychologists met a number of them, including a six-year-old girl who described what she had seen.

"Fabienne had a knife stuck in her belly... Today, we made drawings of what had occurred."

The psychologists, she said, had told them to "throw everything into the bin". "That way we won't remember any of it."

'Long knife'

The attacker was bringing her own daughter, aged five or six, to school as usual on Friday when she produced a long knife, French broadcaster France Info reports.

She is said to have shouted "I am not a thief" before attacking.

Ms Terral-Calmes was stabbed just once, either in the chest or stomach, according to different reports.

Media caption,
The stabbing happened at the Edouard Herriot primary school in Albi on Friday morning

Local media reported that the suspect was already known to police over allegations of child neglect.

France's Le Point magazine reports that the suspect, who was not named officially, later told police her act was justified because "the teacher was bad" to her daughter.

But a representative of school parent groups in the region said there had been no particular problems between the teacher and her attacker, who is believed to have had her daughter in the school for just six weeks.

More than one in 10 teaching staff in France's public education system has reported suffering abuse or threats at work - nearly twice as many as in all other professions, according to a recent study by the French national statistics institute.

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