An enraged mother fatally stabbed a French pre-school teacher in her classroom today, without much of a discernible motive. Police and various officials say the 47-year-old suspect walked into her daughter's school in southern France and stabbed Fabienne Terral-Calmes, 34, in front of terrified students, The Local reports. The assailant apparently shouted "I am not a thief!" or thought Terral-Calmes had called her 5-year-old daughter a thief, the BBC and the AP report. According to officials, the mother had undergone psychiatric counseling for "serious" problems and been accused by police of abandoning her teenage son. She'd also had little contact with school staff before today; her daughter has attended for only six weeks. The assailant was arrested at home not long after the attack.
President Hollande and the country's education minister condemned the killing, which rekindled a debate over school safety in France. While murders of French teachers are very rare, nearly half of 4,000 principals questioned in a study said they had endured insults, threats, or harassment last school year, often by parents who considered a child's punishment unfair. Some teachers say they're left unprotected, but one of them argues that closer parent-teacher bonds are the answer, and worsening economic conditions the cause, especially for poor immigrant families. Meanwhile, students who saw the attack are receiving counseling, and the attacker's daughter has been sent to social services. "This is something that will stay with her forever," an official said. The slain teacher left behind two young daughters. (Read about a US student who was "scared and depressed" after going on a stabbing spree.)