2 February 2024

The president of the Ile-de-France region, Valérie Pecresse, at the base of the GIGN de ​​Versailles-Satory, in Versailles (Yvelines), March 31, 2023.

“It is neither for the regional prefect nor for the Minister of National Education to decide, or to validate the choice made by a community. » Pap Ndiaye has just sent, in a letter that The world was able to consult, an end of inadmissibility to the president (Les Républicains) of the regional council of Ile-de-France, Valérie Pécresse, who asked him to decide on the name of a high school in the Ile-de-France region.

That of the Plain, in Saint-Denis, was inaugurated six years ago, but it still does not have an official name. Students, teachers, inhabitants, just like the national education site designate it by the name of the American writer and activist Angela Davis, without any signage in its surroundings naming it as such. The Ile-de-France region still qualifies it as “High School of the Plain”. However, in this matter, and according to the education code, it is the region that decides on its name.

Valérie Pécresse put the subject back on the table of her permanent assembly by proposing, at the end of March, to baptize this general-purpose establishment of 1,200 students by the name of Rosa Parks, another figure of the American civil rights movement, more consensual, according to her. The board of directors of the school had however validated the name of Angela Davis in May 2018, supported by the mayor of Saint-Denis at the time. In a press release published at the end of March, the teachers of the high school said to themselves “shocked” by the new proposal of the region to which they have not been associated ” Near or far “. Faced with the emerging controversy, Valérie Pécresse chose to postpone this decision and seize the Minister of National Education and the regional prefect to decide.

“Ex-Black Panther Radicality”

The divergence between the Minister of National Education and the President of the Ile-de-France Regional Council goes far beyond a question of law. For the second, even though Angela Davis wore “a courageous fight against the abject segregationist system that existed in the United States”, “his ex-Black Panther radicalism may appear too conflicting to embody the serenity that must prevail in a school”, she argues in a letter dated March 31 and addressed to Pap Ndiaye.

THE “systemic racism” against whom Angela Davis fought “was true in the United States” but “is not in France”according to the former presidential candidate, who sees in this thesis “a full-scale attack on republican universalism”engine of “communitarian withdrawals”. The regional elected official also deplores the recent positions taken by the author, who is now 79 years old. Angela Davis was concerned, for example, in an interview with Mediapart in 2016, of the way in which secularism has been transformed in France into “a weapon against Muslims”.

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