A student at Gaston Fébus College in Lannemezan was the victim of harassment at school. She tried to commit suicide. Some of his harassers have been banned for two days. The parents and the Stop Harassment 65 association question the care of the teenager. Transcript.
We call her Anna*. She is 12 years old and attends Year 5 at Gaston Fébus College in Lannemezan. In early February, she attempted suicide while on medication. She was taken to the hospital and got away with it, but her family and Stop Harassment 65 are demanding accountability from National Education.
It all started in the 6th grade. Anna takes part in a game with her friends during the break. She loses and gets a promise: she has to ask a boy.What’s your name ?“. The one she is talking to has a friend who Anna knows.
The friend uses this naïve game as an excuse to insult Anna. Of “You’re a bitch! You’re a whore!”* rushed to the playground. Scuffles in front of the lockers, on the stairs and explicit death threats follow.
They are a small group of 5 to 6 fifth graders who attack them at lunchtime, including in the canteen. He is told: “Get off this table‘, they harass her until they hit her on the head. That says Erika, Anna’s mother, with emotion.
When she learns of the ordeal her daughter is going through, she goes to the principal of the college. He calms her down. The harasser’s parents will be subpoenaed, but nothing more. Anna’s schedule is arranged. She no longer eats lunch in the canteen.
We felt that Anna was being punished
“My daughter started having dark thoughts. She constantly had the insults of her bullies on her mind. She started cutting herself, first on her hand, then on her legs. Her condition worsened. She even tried to throw herself out of the window“.
The girl’s parents file a complaint, but have no news. She is accompanied by a child psychiatrist. In college the climate seems to be more peaceful by the end of this 6th year. But the respite is short-lived.
This year, just before the February holidays, the young girl tries to commit suicide. Her parents discover that she is being molested again. Five boys, including four from her class, call her “Slut”, “filthy whore”, “Chinese”.” (Allusion to the color of her skin, her mother explains, Anna is of Reunionese origin).
It’s his mother who finds out about all this when she asks him to write down what gets thrown in his face every day: “out”, “go die”, “go kill yourself”, is the name of a porn actress. These young people say to him:You suck the homeless man”, “I will rape you”, “suck my dick”.
Anna’s parents file a complaint again. Against the establishment this time young people and their parents. But there is no news either, they explain. They learn that the young people were excluded for a total of two days. Her daughter, she lives in fear and, according to her mother, has to deal with the trauma on a daily basis.
When the association Stop Harassment 65 decides to organize a demonstration, with the support of a group of bikers, to accompany Anna on her return to school (a form of protest already seen in other departments), the parents said they were been contacted by the Gendarmerie. They would have been ordered to withdraw their support for the mobilization. In the end, the demonstration that was supposed to take place this Monday, March 28, was canceled. Anna came back to school scared, says her mother.
We contacted Thierry Aumage, the inspector of the Hautes-Pyrénées Academy, who declined to answer our questions directly. In a press release, he explains that several discussions have taken place with the family and that the situation is being monitored by the school’s social worker and the school doctor.
“After the difficulties that Anna encountered, the headmaster imposed sanctions with several days of expulsion of the offending students, he mentions. They were switched to class in order to have no more contact with Anna. Anna came back to college yesterday. The family was once again received by the Headmaster last night and the parents expressed their satisfaction.”
The examiner also explains that a weekly exchange with parents will take place before graduation for as long as necessary: ”More generally, the College has promoted awareness work on harassment. Gendarmerie teams have intervened in particular against cyberbullying in the classrooms, in addition to internal interventions in the facility.
These provisions are far from satisfying Stop Harassment 65 president Elisabeth Aguirre, who does not take off. “There was a meeting last week and the only solution they found is to keep Anna in class during the break.She explains. It’s unacceptable!“
“That’s always the case with the academy and the institutions. Either we change them from college or school so we don’t hear about them anymore, or we find such solutions. This is double punishment for the victims.”
A vision that Anna’s parents hold on to, feeling unsupported and seeing their child in danger. “I’m afraid for my daughter. I want to say stop because a lot of children are dying and they don’t deserve it. We, we tell him: We didn’t give birth to you so that you could go through this! We support them, but we are very concerned. And that goes for the whole family. My son tells me his nightmares. He says he’s scared: I see Anna leaving and I can’t help her.
*The victim’s first name has been changed.
*The insults are reproduced in detail in order to provide clear evidence of the facts denounced by the parents.