Élisabeth Borne would have done without such a sequence in a heated French political context between the war in the Middle East and the immigration bill. The Prime Minister went this Thursday to the Claude-Debussy college in Paris with Brigitte Macron, the wife of the President of the Republic, and Gabriel Attal, the Minister of National Education, in the context of the national day against school bullying. The Matignon tenant was criticized after the publication of an extract on social networks by BFMTV, of a conversation with a young bullied student.
“Really sorry to ask that question,” the young boy begins. In primary school, I was hared and I asked the teacher if I could speak with my mother and the teacher told me no,” asks the young Parisian student. He adds, just before Brigitte Macron turns around: “It’s really shocking for me. » And to conclude: “I don’t want to create problems (…) I just wanted to talk about it if it was normal or not. »
The head of government then recovers the young man’s microphone and answers him. “So that shows that it’s important to train everyone,” she quips with a smile in front of an audience of national education personnel present in the clroom, sparking a few laughs. On social networks, the Prime Minister’s lack of empathy is highlighted by some. The criticism has sometimes also become more political. “When the propaganda goes off the rails, it gives this terrible sequence where Brigitte Macron turns her back on a victim of harment and Borne ends up laughing. The order of mistreatment is fueled by contempt,” underlines Alexis Poulin, regular columnist on Sud Radio.
“No humanity, no understanding in the face of this little one who courageously confides in his school bullying. Madame Macron who turns her back when he exposes the bankruptcy of the system, Borne’s little joke devoid of any empathy, what a shame! » criticizes another social media columnist, Malek Délégué.
No humanity, no understanding in the face of this little one who courageously confides in his school bullying. Madame Macron who turns her back when he exposes the bankruptcy of the system, Borne’s little joke devoid of any empathy, what a shame! https://t.co/z33OGI7W1h
— Malek Delegue (@MalekDelegue) November 9, 2023
This Friday morning, the video has been viewed nearly 8.9 million times on X, formerly Twitter, cited more than 2,000 times and commented on nearly 1,000 times.
Faced with the controversy, Matignon quickly tried to put out the fire of a seemingly innocuous sequence. The Prime Minister’s services denounced a “bad act of intent”. “She listened to it until the end. It was such a strong testimony that there was some discomfort. Everyone was taken aback. There was no desire to brush aside this testimony,” Matignon told BFMTV. . “On the contrary, the Prime Minister then spoke about it again in private, (Editor’s note, with the boy), still shocked by what this child had said concerning the reaction of his teacher,” ured the Prime Minister’s communications service. .
“Adults must listen, act, not minimize”
During this visit Élisabeth Borne had in fact hammered home the government’s discourse on school bullying. “Let’s not minimize what children are going through,” declared Élisabeth Borne, also calling for a “resurgence” against harment, by launching a new national campaign intended to raise awareness among adults to better hear the victims’ words.
“We really need a collective start on this subject. We see that there are still too many adults who are not aware of the extent and impact of harment on our young people. We often hear It’s bickering between children, it’s age that wants that, it will p », Underlined the Prime Minister. “Adults must listen, act, not minimize” harment, while for young people, “it’s dare to speak,” she added. Last year, the campaign was aimed more at students with this question: “What if the other was you? »
If young people “talk, it’s because there’s definitely something there. We have to dig and know what’s behind it,” added Brigitte Macron. The Prime Minister unveiled an interministerial plan against harment at the end of September, promising a “general mobilization”, now with a single call number, 3018.