18-year-old student detained after stabbing teacher in face in western France

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An 18-year-old student was detained in western France on Monday after stabbing his English teacher in the face and fleeing, authorities said.

The teacher from the town of Chemille-en-Anjou in western France “suffered a facial injury that is not life-threatening”, said a joint statement from the authorities including the prefect and public prosecutor.

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Law enforcement officers could be seen in front of the Lycee de l’Hyrome where the attack took place on Monday morning, according to an AFP photographer at the scene.

Speaking to reporters, public prosecutor Eric Bouillard ruled out “any religious or radical motive”, adding that the suspect expressed feelings of “unhappiness.”

According to the prosecutor’s account, the student attacked the teacher during class after a break.

He “grabbed the teacher from behind and stabbed her in the face, causing panic in the classroom,” he said.

After the attack the suspect quickly left through the window, abandoning his knife, according to the authorities. He was detained by gendarmes and municipal police.

Bouillard said the student did not seem to have any grievances against the teacher, he added.

Bouillard said that while the teacher was hit in the cheek and her injury was minor “the psychological impact” will be “much greater”, Bouillard said.

The young man had been a student at the school for three years and returned there Monday after an absence due to illness. Fellow students said he appeared in a good mood on Monday morning.

‘Deeply shocked’

The suspect bought the knife last week, the prosecutor said.

“He saw this knife and bought it, knowing that he was going to do something with it,” he said, adding that the student complained of “too much pressure.”

Officials said the young man was not previously known to the police, adding that counselling was provided to students and teachers after the attack.

An investigation into “attempted murder” has been launched.

Education Minister Nicole Belloubet said she was “deeply shocked and outraged”.

“My thoughts are with the victim and the entire educational community”, she added on X.

France has in recent years been shaken by a series of school incidents involving attacks on teachers as well as schoolchildren by their peers.

In April, French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced measures to crack down on teenage violence in and around schools, as the government seeks to reclaim ground on security from the far-right ahead of upcoming European elections.

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