French lawmakers are considering new rules against bulllying as School bullies whose victim commits suicide or attempts to take their own life could be jailed for up ten years, Siggy reports.
The country’s parliament began examining the draft law today and the proposals won support from Education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer.
As well as increasing resources for prevention and education, the legislation would create a new crime of ‘school bullying’ if passed.
The offence would carry a maximum three-year jail term and a fine of up to 45,000 euros, depending on the severity of the case and the age of the culprit.
In cases that involved the victim committing suicide, or attempting to, the punishment could be up to 10 years in prison.
It is expected the majority of lawmakers from President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling coalition and the right-wing Republicans party will back the proposals.
‘We will never accept the lives of our children being shattered,’ Blanquer said during a debate, calling the draft law ‘a way of enforcing the values of the republic’.
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Several bullying cases that have ended in tragedy have made headlines in France this year, including the suicide of a 14-year-old girl in the eastern Alsace region in October who was harassed after she confessed to classmates that she was gay.
As many as one in ten French school pupils suffer from bullying at some time, surveys show, and experts say the age-old problem has changed in nature because of mobile phones and social networks which often cause public humiliation for victims.
France’s first lady, Brigitte Macron, who is a former teacher, has made combating bullying a focus of her charity work since 2017.