Dozens of schools have received a request for information concerning the rate of absenteeism in classes on the day of Eid-el-Fitr. An operation launched by the Ministry of the Interior.
It is an e-mail which has sparked a lively controversy in Toulouse. On April 21, the directors of a hundred schools in the Pink City received a strange email, sent by the police. The latter ask that the rate of absenteeism in the classes be transmitted to them that day, because of Eid-el-Fitr, the celebration marking the end of Ramadan. All schools, colleges and high schools in the prefecture of Haute-Garonne (and some surrounding towns) were not recipients of the missive. According to La Dépêche du Midi, which revealed the story, around a hundred establishments were concerned, mainly located in priority education zones (ZEP).
The local daily adds that, some time later (May 11 precisely), a similar e-mail was sent to several establishments of the Montpellier academy. This time, it is the territorial intelligence which would have been at the initiative. The request made was similar: to assess absenteeism during the Ramadan period.
Steps that shocked the educational community. To the point that they seem to have remained empty since few establishments in Toulouse would have responded and given figures, affirms La Dépêche. As for those attached to the Montpellier academy, the latter wrote the next day to the directors, summoning them not to take the request into account. Thus, no data on the possible causality between school absenteeism and the end of Ramadan has been released. Were the classes at the targeted schools really less full that day? Nothing allows us to affirm it, nor to invalidate it.
If the e-mails were sent, in Toulouse, by police officers from a police station and, in Montpellier, by members of territorial intelligence, the request came directly from the Ministry of the Interior. Sonia Backes, Secretary of State in charge of Citizenship, did not deny this, in a press release issued on Sunday: "The Minister of the Interior and Overseas Departments regularly studies the impact of certain religious holidays on the functioning public services, and in particular within the school sphere. It is in this context that an evaluation of the rate of absenteeism observed on the occasion of the Eid-el-Fitr holiday, on April 21, could be requested, in certain academies, with the heads of establishment. Beauvau affirms that no nominative data was transmitted and that it is not a question of a "file".