The Le Parisien newspaper revealed Tuesday that a schoolteacher seeking to punish a Jewish student proposed that the boy "go to a furnace," Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Wednesday.
The incident took place about a month ago at one of Paris' prestigious catholic school. During a physics class, a 10th grade student was busy chatting with his classmate.
The teacher, named Pierre, asked the Jewish youth to leave the classroom and wait in the yard, which the students and teachers refer to as "the fridge" because of the intense cold that prevails there during the winter.
But the punishment apparently did not suffice, and just before the student left the classroom the teacher told him that "if you don’t like it in the fridge, there is always room for you in the furnace."
Emotionally charged connotation
A number of days later, the student's parents filed a criminal complaint to the police, as well as a complaint to the supervisor of Paris' education establishment.
Two supervisors were sent to the school and began questioning the students and teachers.
The French word for "furnace" (four) bears a highly emotionally charged connotation in France. Therefore, many of the Jewish community members refuse to view the teacher's remark toward a Jewish student as an innocent slip of the tongue.