"If everyone had done their job to protect Lindsay, she would be alive": the family of the 13-year-old girl, who killed herself after being the victim of school bullying, announced, Thursday, June 1, to have filed complaint, in particular, against the rectorate and Facebook.
Three complaints have been filed against the management of the college, the Lille academy and the police officers in charge of the investigation for "failure to assist a person in danger", detailed the family lawyer, Pierre Debuisson, during a press conference in Vendin-le-Vieil (Pas-de-Calais), where the schoolgirl, who committed suicide on May 12, was educated. A fourth targets the "completely failing" social network Facebook, according to the lawyer.
Four minors have been indicted in this case for "school harassment leading to suicide", as part of a judicial investigation, the Béthune prosecutor announced on May 25. A major person was indicted for "death threats". All were placed under judicial control. The rectorate of the Lille academy announced last week the opening of an administrative investigation, conceding that the school services could have "gone further in the follow-up" of the young girl, whose harassment was known to the establishment.
"We denounce this inertia of the public authorities who seem to give a damn about the fact that a 13-year-old girl hanged herself and that parents who were alerting for months found themselves completely abandoned," said Me Debuisson. "I tried everything, I did everything. We were not helped, we were let go, completely. No support before, during or after," Lindsay's mother, Betty, said. “If we had been helped, if we had been supported, I'm sure my daughter would be with us. »
"Too slow reaction from social networks"
Education Minister Pap Ndiaye said Thursday evening that it was a "collective failure". "It's a chain of events: the main instigator of the violence was first temporarily excluded on November 14 (…) then definitively excluded on February 27 and we end up with the tragedy of May 12," said Pap Ndiaye. on BFMTV, evoking the problem of "cyberbullying", which in this case took over from bullying at school.
"The mother was received, Lindsay was received by the nurse, by the CPE (senior education adviser), by the principal" after the report of the harassment, had pleaded on May 26 Jean-Roger Ribaud, academic director in Pas-de-Calais, during a press conference. "We triggered the protocol, it gave a disciplinary council, this disciplinary council made it possible to exclude one of the main perpetrators of what happened," he added. “But unfortunately that turned out to be insufficient. »
For Pap Ndiaye, social networks "have their share of responsibility". According to him, they must be "put under more accentuated pressure". "With other ministries we will consult and act extremely firmly with regard to social networks because beyond what they can say, we know that their reaction is too slow and certainly not up to what what we expect from them,” he said. The minister also claimed to follow Lindsay's suicide file "personally". Citing the judicial and administrative investigation, he assured to draw "all the conclusions with regard to the personnel if necessary and especially the general conclusions on the way in which we can move forward".
The "family needs answers, we have to give them," said government spokesman Olivier Véran on Thursday, traveling in Pas-de-Calais. He insisted on "parental responsibilities" in the fight against bullying.
A support unit has been in place since May 15 in the college and a white march was organized on May 24 in memory of the young girl.
Pap Ndiaye announced a "strengthening of the anti-harassment unit", without further details. A school bullying prevention system, the program to combat bullying at school (pHARe), tested since 2019 in elementary schools and colleges in six academies, should complete its generalization this year. According to the ministry, 91% of colleges and 64% of schools are already enrolled in this program, in addition to other anti-bullying measures, such as 30 20 emergency help numbers (for families and victims ), and 30,18 (cyberbullying).