A school stabbing took place in Paris, France. A mother of one of the students entered the class and stabbed the teacher, Fabienne Terral-CalmΦs. The school stabbing took place early in the morning, shortly after school began. No one else was hurt.
The teacher had two small children. The mother was taken into custody. She was described by the French education minister Benoit Hamon as having “serious psychiatric problems.”
School Stabbing Analysis
We frequently hear that school violence is uniquely American, but that is far from the truth. A look at the timeline of school attacks around the world is all one would need to see the error in that thinking. Laws do not stop people intent from doing harm to others.
What is needed is better psychiatric evaluations, and better threat assessment processes for schools. Schools should also take a hard look at their security procedures.
There should also be an understanding that all the planning in the world will not stop every event. Therefore schools should also have robust response and recovery protocols. There should also be quality interaction with local law enforcement. The US Department of Education has an excellent Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans available for free. This includes a threat assessment process.
There are more school stabbing attacks and attacks with weapons other than guns than their are attacks with guns. It is therefore important to plan and prepare for them, ecven as schools prepare for Active Shooters. In fact, an article in Education Week quoted this statistic, “Seven percent of public school students in grades 9-12 reported being threatened or injured with a weapon at school in the 2010-11 school year, according to the most recent data available from the
U.S. Department of Education.”
Don’t let “Active Shooter Fever” consume your school’s emergency planning. Best practice is the All-Hazards approach. Identify your local risks/threats, prepare for the identified risks/threats and mitigate against them. Practice for them and be ready to respond and recover from them.
School stabbings are more frequent than you would like to think. Make sure to include them in your school emergency planning.
Keep your eye on the big picture.