Wednesday, August 4

A small majority of high school students in favor of the authorization of religious symbols at school

In the weeks following the attack on Samuel Paty on October 16, 2020, all eyes – and microphones – focused on the teachers. To echo their emotion. To recall their primary mission, “Forge republicans”, as hammered out Emmanuel Macron during the national tribute to the professor of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines). But also to try to identify, precisely, what is hidden behind the expression of “attacks on secularism” which resonates, henceforth, at all levels of education.

Three months later, it was to high school students that the FIFG gave the floor to position themselves, in turn, on secularism, the place of religions or even the right to “Blaspheme” like a satirical newspaper like Charlie Hebdo. They are exactly 1,006, aged 15 and over, to have been interviewed online, from January 15 to 20, at the request of the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Licra), which devoted an issue of his review Right to Live about.

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Dozens of figures that the polling institute disclosed on Wednesday March 3, those on the wearing of the veil seem the most unprecedented. More than one in two high school students say they are in favor of wearing religious symbols (veil, kippah, turban, cross, etc.) on school grounds – banned since 2004 until the end of high school – whether for parents accompanying school trips (57%), for their classmates from high school (52%), to secondary schools (50%) or for public service employees (50%). This is, each time, twice as much as for the general population.

“There is a fairly clear generational gap on this issue, underlines François Kraus, director of the political pole in the opinion department of the FIFG. The veil permeates the generation of 15-18 year olds and even 15-24 year olds. “ Not “all” the generation, he concedes: 60% of respondents saying they have no religion say, for example, against wearing religious symbols at school. “But tolerance to the expression of forms of religiosity at school appears to us increasingly strong”, notes François Kraus. The tense exchanges between the Secretary of State for Youth, Sarah El Haïry, and young people gathered in Poitiers on October 22, 2020, who were opposed to this subject, offered a recent illustration of this. A 2009 European survey reported 58% of young people opposed to religious symbols in schools.

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