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Teacher slams French education in suicide note

france education
© Cali4beach/FlickrAn empty space. Colleagues have been shocked by the death of a dedicated teacher in Marseille, whose suicide note contained criticisms of France's education system.
Colleagues and politicians have reacted with shock and sadness after a dedicated school teacher in Marseille killed himself on the eve of the new school year. Pierre Jacque left a suicide note containing fierce criticisms of France's education system.

The 55-year-old teacher of electronics at the Lycée Artaud in the southern city killed himself at his home on Sunday, just two days before the beginning of the new school year in France.

The suicide was "completely linked to the exercise of his profession," according to a joint statement by Jacque's colleagues, who called him "the father of a family, with great professional integrity and limitless erudition."

In his suicide letter, Jacque condemned France's education system in particular the "panic" and "roughness" of reforms by previous education minister Luc Chatel, as well as the policy of the current government, which he described as "an infamy."


Why France has such a high rate of suicides
French farming hit by a suicide every 2 days

Chart Pie

Why France has such a high rate of suicides

france suicide
© Stavros/flickrFrance's suicide rate is well above the European average.
Alarming figures released this week revealed that France has a much higher suicide rate than the European average, and double that of the UK and Spain. One expert in the field tells The Local the problem stems from France's history and economic model.

Everyday in France an average of 21 men and eight women take their own lives and around 700 attempt it.

Stories about many of these suicides, some of them particularly shocking such as the despairing unemployed man who set himself on fire outside a job centre recently, end up in the French press on a regular basis.

And the latest figures published this week to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day on Tuesday, revealed that France does have an acute problem with suicide, and charities are demanding the government gives the issue its full attention.


French farming hit by a suicide every 2 days
Teacher slams French education in suicide note


French farming hit by a suicide every 2 days

french farmers
© Agence France Presse/Miguel MedinaFrench cattle farmers protest in Paris at the high costs of rearing farm animals. Financial strife is said to be the main reason for the high suicide rate among farmers.
In France, a farmer commits suicide every two days. That's the shocking statistic quoted in a new report released on Thursday, which will set alarm bells ringing in France's Ministry of Agriculture, which is struggling to revitalize the flagging sector.

Suicide is the third-highest cause of death among French farmers, after cancer and cardio-vascular diseases, a report by the French health institute INVS revealed on Thursday.

In a three year period between 2007 and 2009, 485 farmers took their own lives, which represents a suicide every two days on average. The rate of suicides among farmers is 20 percent higher than among the French population as a whole.

In total, 417 men and 68 women ended their lives during this period, with the mortality rate highest among cattle farmers aged between 45 and 64-years-old.


Teacher slams French education in suicide note
Why France has such a high rate of suicides


Boy, 15, kills self after facing expulsion and sex offender status for streaking

© youtube
Is streaking such a morally heinous act that it warrants this kind of punishment?

A popular, 15-year-old schoolboy from Hunstville, Alabama committed suicide a week after he was arrested for running naked across the Sparkman High football field during a game in September 27, NY Daily News reported.

Faced with expulsion and the possibility of being placed on a sex offender's registry for indecent exposure, Christian Adamek hanged himself and died two days later from his injuries.

A clip of Adamek streaking across the field was posted to youtube and went viral before it was removed following the news of his death.


"That shitty little country": Israelis need the Iranian threat to keep us from destroying each other

© Eran Wolkowski
There are no longer any expectations from school. The expectation that a person will come out of it today better prepared for life are akin to the expectation that a driver will emerge from a defensive driving course better prepared for the road.

There is violence, and ethnic and racial prejudice in schools today. That's the conclusion drawn by social anthropologist Dr. Idan Yaron after observing a school situated in the center of the country, according to a recent article in TheMarker. In his claim that the school is incapable of coping with such phenomena, he angered its teachers. Judging by their responses, you might think that school in general is an oasis of brotherly love amid a sea of hatred and violence. But it doesn't take an anthropologist to see the phenomena Yaron encounterd at the school in question at others around the country.

A school does not have the power, tools or willingness to confront violence or ethnic and racial prejudice, despite the damage they incur. Schools are not relevant anymore. They cannot cope with what really troubles students. Teachers do not have answers to the questions being asked today, and even if they do − they are afraid to give them. Teachers want quiet. They don't want to tick anyone off. Neither the Education Ministry nor the students, and certainly not the parents, who prefer to know nothing.


Girls aged 15 and 11 forced to have MMR jabs by High Court judge after parents disagree over vaccine

© PAIt is only the second time a court has been asked to rule on a dispute between two parents over MMR
Two girls aged 15 and 11 have been forced to have the MMR jab against their will by a High Court judge who had to settle a disagreement between their divorced parents.

The girls' mother did not want them to have the inoculations because she was worried about possible side-effects, but their father insisted they should have them.

The girls, referred to in court documents only as L and M, told Mrs Justice Theis they did not want to have the vaccine, but the judge ruled it was "in their best interests" to do so.

The decision was made last month, but the deadline for the girls' vaccinations passed yesterday. The case came to light after court papers were obtained by BBC2's Newsnight programme.

It is only the second time a court has been asked to rule on a dispute between two parents over MMR, and the first to involve children of such advanced years.

The judge said "weight should be attached to the wishes of mature children," but the girls, who live with their mother, were caught up in an "unfortunate" parental dispute and felt they would be letting their mother down if they gave in.


Television still major source of news for Americans

© Agence France-PresseA man walks past Hisense super slim LED televisions at the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas on January 10, 2009.
Television remains a key source of news for Americans even as digital media gains importance, a survey showed Friday.

A Pew Research Center analysis showed 71 percent of American watch local television news at home and 65 percent view network newscasts over the course of a month.

Some 38 percent of adults watch cable news, according to Pew, but many of these viewers are highly engaged "news junkies" who spend more time watching than most others.

Pew analyzed data from the ratings agency Nielsen, including Nielsen's national panel of metered homes.

The findings also show considerable "crossover" of the major cable news channels - CNN, Fox News and MSNBC - despite popular belief that these organizations have polarized viewers through political partisanship.

Pew said 34 percent of those who watch the left-leaning MSNBC in their homes also tune in to the conservative Fox News Channel.

Che Guevara

Trucker protest on D.C. Beltway causes no major delays

© John Domen/TwitterUse express lanes on the interloop. Blocking all four lanes at 10 mph.
Police authorities in Maryland and Virginia reported no major incidents Friday as a result of the much-talked about truckers protest around the Beltway. Drivers of tractor trailers had said they were going to drive slowly to block off parts of the Beltway to protest excessive government intrusion.

There were police reports of about 30 tractor trailers with American flags and signs for their protest - "Truckers Ride for the Constitution" - driving at the same speed as the rest of traffic on the Beltway in Friday morning's rush hour. But by mid-day the truckers appeared to have broken into smaller groups amid already-heavy volumes of traffic and rain showers on a holiday weekend.


Rent-a-cops hired to ring Philly's Independence Hall, threatens arrest

Armed private security guards are on the job to keep the public away from Philadelphia's Independence Hall, and one even threatened to arrest a political activist if he stepped on the sidewalk beside the iconic building where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were debated and adopted.


Deadly excursion: Sightseeing train collides with truck

Train hits truck
© AP
Authorities say the driver who died when his log truck collided with a train carrying 63 sightseers and four crewmembers on a fall foliage trek amid West Virginia's mountains apparently ran through crossing signals that were still flashing when they arrived.

Twenty-three people were injured, six seriously in the rail crossing accident with U.S. Route 250 atop Cheat Mountain, about 160 miles east of Charleston, officials said. The accident occurred during prime leaf-watching season in the heavily forested eastern part of the state.

Randolph County Sheriff Mark Brady said two of the train's passenger cars flipped on their sides after impact at a rail crossing on a mountain highway, the log truck was a "total loss" and the truck driver who was alone in his vehicle was pronounced dead at the site.

Big, heavy logs lay piled about a scene where first responders aided shaken passengers to disembark from their scenic train ride.

"The railroad crossing signals were flashing at the scene. As all emergency personnel arrived, we observed the signals flashing at the time," Brady said in an audiotaped news conference held with hospital officials who emailed the audio recording to The Associated Press.

"At this juncture of the investigation, it appears that the log truck had run through the crossing signals and struck the passenger cars of the train," Brady added in the recorded statement provided to AP by Davis Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Tracy Fath.

She confirmed the injury total after all passengers and crew were taken to that hospital in Elkins, several miles distant from the collision site.

Brady didn't return calls immediately to The Associated Press seeking comment Friday evening about the accident, which he said involved a train of The Durbin & Greenbrier Railroad.