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article imageTeacher calls for pupils to observe silence for Toulouse shooter

By Katerina Nikolas     Mar 24, 2012 in World
Rouen - Disciplinary proceedings are underway against an English teacher who told her pupils in a French school to observe a minute's silence for Toulouse killer Mohammed Merah.
As France mourned the deaths of the seven victims of the Toulouse shooter and hundreds gathered to observe a minute's silence in Toulouse's main square, English teacher Lorraine Collin, 56, told her class of 17 and 18 year old students to hold a minute's silence for Mohammed Merah.
Collin, who teaches at the Gustave Flaubert High School in Rouen, Normandy, offended her pupils by describing the killer as the "victim of a unhappy childhood" the Daily Mail reported. She went on to point out that Merah's background was disadvantaged as he came from an French-Algerian immigrant family and that he was attracted to Islamic extremism whilst serving a prison sentence. She told her class that Merah's purported links to terrorist organizations had been invented by President Nicolas Sarkozy and the media.
Collin's remarks were reported by the Paris Normandie news website, which said her comments resulted in 15 pupils walking out of her class and reporting her to the headmaster.
World Crunch cited an interview by Le Monde with Bernard Squarcini, director of the French domestic intelligence agency, who offered some insight into Merah's background which led Collin's to consider him the victim. He was supported by his mother after his parents' divorce and his father's return to Algeria, and odd jobs and petty crime provided the funds needed to buy guns.
As Collin's realised that her pupils were not sympathetic to her stance as they argued and left the classroom, she appeared to back down by claiming she was "not feeling too well and perhaps take some time off."
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