Tuesday, November 24, 2015

School Drill

From the BBC:
"Paris attacks: Schools step up security"

France has stepped up security in schools as the country continues to enforce its anti-terrorism system, Vigipirate. Schools will follow a series of measures introduced by the country's ministry of education. Two different versions - one for schools within the Ile-de-France region around Paris and another for those outside - have been implemented. They include introducing special "smoking areas" within school grounds. The ministry says it has placed "special attention" on areas immediately outside establishments, to avoid crowds "detrimental to school safety".  It added that special outdoor spaces will be arranged within secondary schools to prevent students leaving the premises - especially for smoking. Other measures include bag checks and a ban on parking outside schools.  In Ile-de-France, school trips within the region will be banned until 29 November. Trips outside the region - including those abroad - must be reported to authorities, which may choose to forbid them. Schools must also carry out two safety drills by the Christmas holidays - a fire drill and shelter evacuation.  Suzanne, a 17-year-old student from Paris, said: "I don't have to be left terrorised because I don't want to play the terrorists' game. But I am not relaxed. Not in school, not outside. The measures are useful but symbolic."

^ It's a sad state when schools have to do measures like this. France has a huge Muslim population mostly from their former colonies and there could be many "sleeper cells' or "5th columnists" waiting to carry out and attack. I remember going to a school in Vitry (outside of Paris) with my school on an exchange. The French kids came to our school in October (a month before I had moved back to the US) and the American kids went to their school the next April. Our school was a wealthy, large suburban school and the French one was fairly poor (the next year my school changed school exchanges.) In Vitry you could see all the low-income, government housing where nearly everyone was an immigrant. We were there to use our French, but the French they spoke in Vitry was not the traditional French they use and teach throughout France (we could have saved our money and gone to Quebec if we wanted to hear non-traditional French.) The school we went to have pretty tight security - something we Americans weren't used to as it was pre-9-11.  We were told it was because there were lots of Middle Eastern and Northern African gangs in the area. While we didn't experience any terrorism or any violence during our exchange there you could see the differences between the in Vitry and those in Paris and it was just a short commuter stop away. It has been several years since my trip and I know the relationships between the immigrants and the French have only gotten worse. I have been back to Paris (as a tourist) since but didn't go back to Vitry. You could see the differences so clearly between the immigrants in Vitry and those in Paris several years ago and that was before Al-Qaida or IS. Maybe the French should have done more to vet their new immigrants (although it is harder to do now since they have open borders with the Schengen..) ^


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