EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen, said he was shocked after hearing that an unidentified gunman opened fire on the Ozar Hatorah school, a private Jewish college in Toulouse in south-west France.
The attack took place on Monday 19 March, around 08:00am, as children and their parents were arriving at the school. Four people were killed. A teacher at the school and his two children, aged three and six, are reported to have been killed. The third child killed was aged between eight and ten years old and belonged to another teacher at the school. A 17-year-old was also seriously injured.
Van Leeuwen said: “ EI adopted a Declaration ‘Schools shall be safe sanctuaries’ calling on the international community to step up efforts to prevent violations of the right to education and ensure the safety and security of learners, teachers and academics everywhere. Initially the Declaration was designed for countries in conflict or fragile States where teachers and students are putting their lives at risk simply by turning up for lesson. It is unacceptable to witness that increasingly, anywhere, schools, universities, students and teachers are considered as legitimate targets, while children and teachers should always be safe in schools and in their learning environment”.
Education International has sent a condolence letter to EI French affiliates, sending EI’s deepest condolences to school communities directly affected, and particularly to distraught families and teacher colleagues.