French Prime Minister presents action plan against youth violence

As of: April 18, 2024 8:39 p.m

After a series of extremely brutal crimes, France is once again discussing youth violence. Prime Minister Attal wants to present an action plan and hold both students and their parents responsible.

France is once again discussing young violent perpetrators and an action plan is being launched again. This time by Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, who has now been in office for 100 days. He promised that he wanted to take a ruthless inventory: “All the mayors confirm to us that it is a few who carry out this violence and make the lives of everyone in the district hell. The local politicians know these young people, but their hands are tied.”

Several shocking acts of violence

You have to look at it and punish without hesitation. “We need a real jolt of authority, a departure,” Attal demanded from where 15-year-old Shemseddine was beaten to death in front of the school gate a few weeks ago: in Viry-Châtillon, in the south of Paris. The five perpetrators, apart from one, were all minors. The reason for her crime: Shemseddine is said to have spoken improperly to the sister of one of the perpetrators.

In Montpellier, a girl was beaten into a coma by a group of teenagers; she had previously been bullied because of her revealing, European clothing. In Marseille, a mother and her daughter attacked a school principal. The list goes on.

Parents, students and social media in focus

There are various reasons for these excesses of violence, explained Attal. For example, overwhelmed or indifferent parents, ruthless individualism and rampant Islamism. Getting to the root of the problem also means fighting against Islamism without mercy.

These young people increasingly reacted by trampling on republican values ​​and disregarding secularism – the separation between state and religion. “It is unacceptable that a religious ideology calls our laws into question. That a young woman no longer has the freedom to walk in these neighborhoods without a veil if she wants to. The only law in France is that of the Republic,” said Attal.

The Prime Minister announced various measures. Among other things, aggressive students should be removed from their environment at an early stage and educated in a boarding school, the judiciary should punish offenses more quickly, parents should be better supported but also held more accountable. In addition, schools should remain open longer in order to leave young people unsupervised as little as possible.

Media consumption also needs to be limited, as the riots last summer showed. At that time, young people used social networks to incite themselves to a real competition of destruction. “We will regulate it,” said Attal. “And we have already taken the necessary measures to ban the rioters from social networks.”

No new ideas

Teachers have often heard all of this, but they miss a long-term investment strategy to equip schools and social work well in the long term. That’s why teachers’ unions and educational researchers also criticized Attal for not mentioning the crucial thing.

Teacher Guislaine David from the SNUIP-FSU union regretted on BFMTV: “I didn’t hear Attal speak about school staff once in the speech. We need more trained staff: social workers, psychologists, educators.”

In Saint-Denis, in the poor north of Paris, there are teachers who have been on strike for six weeks. A cry for help to draw attention to the fact that they urgently need more staff. But they still haven’t had an answer from the ministry.

A new action plan

Representatives from all relevant areas – schools, social work, justice, police – should now be brought together and develop an anti-violence program within just eight weeks. But the question arises as to whether this new action plan will be suitable for solving the problems in the long term.

The government is faced with a huge and long-standing problem: it states that young people between the ages of 13 and 17 are significantly more violent and criminal compared to the total population. In the statistics, they appear twice as often in the “beatings and injuries” category, four times as often in drug trafficking and even seven times as often in armed robbery.

There is no lack of analysis

And there is actually no lack of analysis. When Macron took office, the problem in the suburbs should be addressed at its roots. The newly elected president had a master plan drawn up. When it threatened to become expensive and only seemed to promise long-term success, Macron let the so-called “Plan Borloo” disappear into the drawer.

After the riots last summer, then Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced the results of weeks of consultations with local politicians. And most recently, the Senate presented its own assessment of these nights of riots: the damage amounted to one billion euros, and 1,000 people were injured. A total of 50,000 rioters are said to have taken part. A third of them were minors.

Julia Borutta, ARD Paris, tagesschau, April 18, 2024 8:36 p.m

source site