Two teachers suspended near Caen: where are we four months later?

Two teachers from the Saint-Martin-de-Fontenay school, suspended in September 2022, have not returned to their posts. In conflict with the Academic Inspectorate, they are still on sick leave. ©Nicolas CLAICH

“It’s a ludicrous situation! Four months after being notified of their suspension, on the eve of the start of the new school year in September 2022, two CE2 and CM1/CM2 teachers from the Charles-Huard school in Saint-Martin-de-Fontenay are still under shock. “It’s very hard psychologically, underline the two women, currently on sick leave. Especially since we still do not know precisely what we are being accused of”.

“Serious remarks” or “private messages”?

On August 30, 2022, as they were preparing to return to their respective classes, in which they had been teaching for fifteen years, after having prepared school projects for the coming year, the two colleagues learned that they were suspended from duty. As a precaution initially, the time for the Academic Inspectorate to decide on a possible disciplinary sanction.

The reason given? “Serious remarks” that the two women would have made about the principal of the school. Except that these “serious remarks” would have been made during private conversations between the two women, via e-mail.

We are friends, we discussed everything, including future meetings. We were able to describe our director as authoritarian, but always with respect for her person.

The two teachers suspended

Screenshots of these messages reached the Academic Directorate of the National Education Services of Calvados. How ? “National Education provided us with digital tablets in September 2021, but without an access code or identifier, explains one of the two teachers. As they were from the same brand as my phone, my account was accessible on both devices”. It was while wanting to erase the personal data from the tablets, in June 2022, that the administration would have come across these private messages…

“When a child does not agree, we do not exclude him”

Administratively, the two Martifontaine teachers are no longer suspended by National Education. In mid-October, during an interview with the DSDEN, they were told that no disciplinary sanction had been pronounced against her by the legal department. “We were reminded that our professional record was irreproachable, but we were offered… to be replaced on our own posts! Obviously unacceptable for the two women, who are very attached to the school and their students.

Every day, I meet parents or children who ask me when I’m coming back. I don’t know what to say to them…

The teacher of CE2, who lives 50 meters from the school

In November 2022, the two colleagues were assigned to replacement positions in schools in Caen. “We received a registered letter on a Tuesday announcing that we were assigned from… Monday (the day before)”, they are surprised.

“The situation is not calm”

Contacted, Armelle Fellahi, the director of the departmental services of national education (DSDEN), sheds light. “Currently, the Saint-Martin-de-Fontenay school is operating normally. We are working with the people concerned so that, at the start of the school year in September 2023, the situation is calm. This is the most important for the students and this is my objective. It is not reached for the moment, it is necessary to leave a little time.
The two teachers are no longer suspended, they have received assignment proposals. If their return had no impact, I will, but this is not the case at the moment.

Since then, they have been off work, just like the director, moreover, but do not intend to wait to know their fate by remaining idly by. Without a written record of their situation, they plan to seize the administrative court to challenge their suspension. “We can’t give up. We have values ​​that we strive to pass on to children every day: the freedom to think, the confrontation of ideas. When a child does not agree, we do not exclude him for all that. We thought these were the values ​​of National Education… We don’t understand why there was no mediation. The Inspection based itself on a single version”.

Videos: currently on Actu

A complaint lodged

In addition, a complaint was filed with the public prosecutor, for “breach of the secrecy of correspondence”, following the dissemination of private messages to the hierarchy of the Academic Inspectorate. “I was the victim of an offence, I was rather expecting to be protected by the institution,” laments the CE2 teacher.

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Two teachers suspended near Caen: where are we four months later?