A French woman is in police custody today after stabbing her daughter's kindergarten teacher to death in front of her students on Friday.
The assailant, who has not been identified, stabbed Fabienne Terral-Calmes either in the chest or stomach as class began this morning at the Edouard Herriot school in Albi. Terral-Calmes was 34 years old and a mother of two.
The attacker brought her five-year-old daughter to Ms. Terral-Calmes' classroom on Friday and drew a knife. France Info reported that she yelled "I am not a thief" before stabbing the teacher one time.
Education Ministry Regional Health and Safety Committee member Marie-Odile Gay told reporters that the assailant believed her daughter had been accused of stealing by the teacher. The attacker also told police that "the teacher was bad" to her daughter, according to Le Point magazine.
After the horrific attack, "the children were immediately taken in by another teacher who brought them to another classroom to talk to them, to tell them stories, to try to break them away from what they had just lived through," Education Minister Benoit Hamon told reporters.
Meanwhile, first responders attended to the fatally wounded teacher.
"When I arrived at the scene they were trying to revive her," Albi prosecutor Claude Derens told France Info. "She was in cardiac arrest in her classroom."
The five- and six-year-old children who witnessed the attack are receiving counseling.
Hamon said that the attacker's daughter had only been in the school for six weeks, and the mother had limited contact with school staff. Authorities also reported that the woman had a history of psychiatric problems, and was accused of abandoning her 15-year-old son.
The Education Minister called Terral-Calmes a "remarkable teacher," and her death, a terrible tragedy.
"This July 4, the moment when we should be happy for all children that school is over, that vacations are beginning, that teachers successfully completed the school year, has been turned into a day of mourning ... by this abominable crime," he stated.