Near Le Creusot in Saône-et-Loire, Mickaël and Sylvie, parents of little Maël, are crying out for their son. Victim of bullying at school, he has been out of school for two months. The academic inspection ensures to take the situation seriously. A judicial investigation is underway.
“A nine-year-old who tells you he wants to kill himself to make it stop? It is not possible“, loose Sylvie, “disappointed“. She is the mother of young Maël (first name changed). She and her companion, Mickaël, inhabitants of Bizots near Le Creusot, contacted France 3 Bourgogne in the hope of alerting them to the situation of their son, victim of harassment at school. A cry of alarm that resounds a few weeks later the suicide of Lucas, 13 years oldalso a victim of violence in his college in the Vosges.
The parents launch a first alert in December 2021 with national education, when they discover that their son is the victim of harassment. “It was his little sister, who had just started kindergarten at the same school, who told us that for the first time. She told us that her brother was regularly beaten in the playground“, says Mickaël. The couple meets Maël’s mistress the next day and leaves a note in the liaison book two days later. They also contact the parents of the harasser child, but do not feel listened to. “Everyone was surprised, but the parents considered that nothing was happening. For them, problems must be solved in the playground.“
When they return from vacation, in January 2022, Sylvie and Mickaël question their son every day to find out if things are going better. “But he was tired of being asked, so we stopped.“Until the end of March 2022, when the parents make a new discovery.
“One of his friends came to see me to tell me that the harassment had resumed, that our son was being beaten up in class. The next day, a dad called me to tell me that our son had thoughts of suicide. and that he had said it in front of his comrades.”
“That’s when we understood that it was very, very serious”, relate the parents. They then contact the anti-harassment number (30 18) and rewrite at school. “We then learn that two other families are affected by this harassment“Together, they write a joint email to the school management and a meeting is organized a few days later.”Behind, we waited two months and we met the national education at the end of June.”
Meanwhile, the harassment continues. The parents have Maël followed by a psychologist, who discovers that the little boy has in fact been the victim of bullying for almost three years in this same school.
At the end of June, the meeting provided satisfactory answers: “We were listened to, along with the other victim parents, the inspector, the teachers, the school principal. They tried to put things in place to stop that.“But the summer school holidays come just after, and at the start of the school year in September…
“From day one, rebelote.”
Maël has a series of stomach aches, he eats less, sleeps badly. “Our son was crying on his way home from school. He didn’t tell us anything” In November, Sylvie and Mickaël meet the “adverse” parents, those of the bullying child, with the inspector, the teachers and the school psychologist. But the discussion is cut short. “The parents of the other child said our son was fantasizing.”
Faced with a situation that seems inextricable to them, Sylvie and Mickaël decide to withdraw their son from school at the beginning of December 2022. For two months, “we do school at home, we spend the weekend there, Maël’s grandparents take care of him during the week“, explain the parents. Maël sleeps better and starts to eat a little more. “But he remains worried. We don’t talk about it much.”
National education has put in place a protocol to ensure the continuity of Maël’s education. “The inspector is regularly on the phone with the parents“, indicates Janique Frayer-Miettaux, assistant to the academic inspector of the first degree in the district of Mâcon, contacted by France 3.
“The lessons and the exercises are transmitted to the family, the school doctor has been alerted. Maël’s teacher works twice a week, either at home or at school outside of school hours.”
There is talk of re-schooling Maël in another school ready to welcome him not far from Le Creusot. “It’s what we want“, explains Janique Frayer-Miettaux, “but the family has to make a decision“. Sylvie and Mickaël are considering it but want to take their time.”The psychologists told us to go slowly, not to start a new school year in the middle of the year but rather after the February holidays.“They went to visit the school in question. But what bothers the parents is the feeling of not being seen as victims.
“Maël would like to stay in his current school, and that his bully is no longer there. If there is no choice, we will comply with this and we will change him school, it will still be a sacrifice. .”
“But it’s infuriating to see that a harassed child has to manage, go elsewhere, rehabilitate, resume a school program… While the executioner quietly continues to go to school without problems.”
For its part, the academic inspection says it is well aware of the situation. “I do not dispute the feelings of the parents, nor the way in which they live things“, explains Janique Frayer-Miettaux, while specifying: “There is pain on both sides.“
The assistant inspector explains that many steps have been taken. She says the alert was forwarded to her in March 2022.”Maël was not alone, other families contacted us to explain that in this small group of CM2, there were problems of group phenomenon, relational dysfunction within the group.“
Janique Frayer-Miettaux assures that “Since then, a great many things have been done: we have moved to one full-time teacher instead of two part-time for this class, all the children for whom the families agreed have seen the school psychologist, many sessions were organized around cohesion, cooperative activities for children to function in a more empathetic way“.
She also specifies that a mediation has been set up between the parents of Maël and the parents of the child in question, and that the school hours have been arranged “so that there is a minimum of altercations“.
Despite this, Sylvie and Mickaël see no satisfactory solution. “We are disappointed. We would like so much that our son could go back to school and that the other child is no longer there. It would prove that there is a minimum of recognition, and perhaps also that the other child becomes aware of what he has done. “
“If nothing is done, I don’t see how it could stop.”
According to both parents, this child has also attacked another student since Maël dropped out of school.
Sylvie and Mickaël filed a complaint at the end of November for “harassment”. Contacted, the Chalon-sur-Saône prosecutor’s office indicates that a classification of the complaint had “a time was considered in view of the age of the protagonists“, but that the case is ultimately still under investigation. An investigation is open.
Currently, the academic inspection teams of Mâcon are being trained in the PHARE system, “which should make it possible to avoid arriving at inextricable situations“. But the assistant to the academic inspector, Jannick Frayer-Miettaux, recognizes the difficulties in this file. The small size of the class – six pupils of the same level in a class of around 20 pupils – does not help the situation. “This is the concern of small schools. There are advantages, it’s very family-friendly when everything goes well. But it’s more complicated to manage when the group is dysfunctional.”
“Mael’s situation really matters to us“, assures the assistant inspector.
School harassment: “Our 9-year-old son had thoughts of suicide”