Education: “True secularism and authority gradually disappear in school”, condemns a teacher from Toulouse

the essential
Louis Musso, a former teacher and sophrologist from Toulouse, compiles an alarming report on the state of the school in his latest book, “Can We Still Save the School?”. For him, the authority of the institution and the teachers is undermined. In particular, it calls into question an overly lax interpretation of secularism.

Your latest book is titled “Can We Still Save the School? A Deliberately Provocative Title?

Yes and no. After an entire career in teaching, so by welcoming students in difficulty into my sofrology practice, I was able to see two things: teachers’ authority is no longer respected, and teachers no longer know, or know too little, support their students. This observation has not really changed over the years and therefore I wonder if we can save the school. But despite all that, I still have faith in the teaching. I have always said to my students, even the most difficult, “I believe in you and I will do everything I can to help you”.

“Students need a framework, an authority. They do not like when it is a mess”

Has the school’s authority framework disappeared?

Students need a framework, an authority. They do not like when there is some mess, sorry for the expression. They want a solid teacher who will not hesitate to punish them for bad behavior. Even the most “excited”! And the teacher hierarchy must support them in this maintenance of the framework. It’s primordial. The results are better at a school, a college, a high school, where the framework is respected. Uncompromising.

But an overly lax interpretation of secularism in particular has introduced certain concessions, which in your opinion have detrimental effects …

Absolutely. The law of 3. July 1905 on separation of church and state was a long struggle. Aristide Briand condemned several bishops and dozens of priests who had called for breaking the 1905 law! The Church is free, like any association, provided it respects the law. Also other religions. I agree with Elisabeth Badinter when she states that there are no two visions of secularism. There is only one that was established by the law of 1905. We invent “open” or “positive” secularism, which is no longer secularism.

Secularism is being undermined by some students or parents, but the central administration is afraid to intervene. It is the reign of “no wave”

According to you, secularism is undermined inside the school.

Badinter says it, secularism is not and should never be the neutrality of the state. It then disappears as an instrument of control and social cohesion. Today, the state creates the conditions for acceptance, where everything is equal, everything is the same, everything is equal. He disconnects, he commits suicide in a way. It is not surprising that teachers have difficulty with the very content of their course in science, sports, history. Secularism is undermined by some students or parents, but the central administration is afraid to intervene. It is the reign of “no wave”. Every religion must be respected, but every religion must respect the rules of the secular republic.

How did you as a teacher do to make yourself respected by your students?

First the magic formula: “I am here to help you”. And “if you want to get to work, the vast majority of you can succeed”. Appreciate them. Love them, listen to them. Greet them every day, one by one, one by one, recognizing them as individuals. Too often they get sent a negative image of themselves back, they are told that they are not good for nothing. But above all, set the frame. Calm. Those who screw up the mess, they get punished. Point. That’s how I succeeded with 85% in the matriculation exam, a class that everyone thought was lost, at the professional high school in Tournefeuille. I also introduced relaxation and sofrology techniques. And it works.

“Diversity in high schools? A very good thing. A brave decision by President Méric”

How do you rate the “Mixité dans les collèges” operation launched by the Haute-Garonne departmental council?

That’s a very good thing. Children in difficulty need to be taken out of their environment, which is often not conducive to learning. It was a brave decision by Georges Méric. He “broke” the codes, and that’s fine. Parents are unhappy at first, this is normal. But the results are there, the children are developing because they are now in establishments where the framework is better established and better respected. Student diversity is a good thing. This example should be used throughout France.

“Can we still save the school?”, Louis Musso, Le Livre Actualités Editions, € 22, for sale at major online bookstores. Contact:

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