Teacher killed in Saint-Jean-de-Luz: “A shock wave crossed the city”

After the death of the Spanish teacher, stabbed by a student, the mayor of the city, Jean-François Irigoyen, looks back on this dramatic day.

By Jerome Cordelier

Jean-François Irigoyen, the current mayor of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, at the scene of the tragedy.

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VSs one can imagine, the mayor of Saint-Jean-de-Luz is still reeling from the drama of the Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin high school, where a Spanish teacher, Agnès Lassalle, was fatally stabbed by a student yesterday, Wednesday February 22. Jean-François Irigoyen, who succeeded Peyuco Duhart in December 2017, who died suddenly of cardiac arrest, of which he was the first deputy, is not the kind of man to pour out. Since the tragedy, he has stood back from the media. We were able to talk to him for a few minutes on the phone. He testifies with modesty, dignity and prudence.

Point : How did you find out about the events that took place this Wednesday, February 22 at Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin high school?

Jean-Francois Irigoyen: Yesterday I was called around 10 am. I was in a meeting. I was told that a teacher had just been stabbed… I rushed to the school, which is very close to the town hall. I saw firefighters and ambulances scrambling to try to resuscitate the victim, we still have hope. We didn’t understand, we still don’t understand.

The emotion is very strong in Saint-Jean-de-Luz…

It’s a shock wave that has crossed the whole city. In winter, Saint-Jean-de-Luz is an isolated bubble. It is a city that has always been very well preserved. We are not struck by the issues that may arise elsewhere. This high school, private, has a very big reputation, a great success in all exams. It is an exemplary school. What could have happened?

READ ALSOTeacher killed: in front of the Saint-Jean-de-Luz high school, amazement

Do you know this professor, Agnès Lassalle?

No, she lived in Biarritz, but she had been a teacher at Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin for twenty-five years. And her former students that I was able to meet yesterday in the streets of the city all testified to me of the attachment they had for her. Listening to them, we felt that she was a particularly loved teacher. Never one word higher higher than the other. She seemed very caring towards her students. She devoted her life to education. Everyone is amazed. We could not imagine such a tragedy in Saint-Jean-de-Luz.

On the personality of the student aggressor, what can we say at this stage of the investigation?

I can’t tell you, I didn’t know him. We’ll see what happens to the investigation. This is an isolated case. It is necessary to be very careful with amalgams, with recoveries. He is a young man who was not known to the police. He told himself yesterday in the corridors of the school that he was being treated for psychological problems. But let’s be careful to distinguish between what is said and reality. People tend to talk too much. You should be careful.

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