A new law passed by the French Parliament provides that school bullies face up to three years’ imprisonment for their MPs saying society needs a “wake up call” on the severity of child molestation. The proposed law was endorsed by Emmanuel Macron’s Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer.

Blanquer said support for the law was a message to the country that “we will never accept our children’s lives being destroyed”, and added that the law was “a way of enforcing the values ​​of the republic”.

Reports indicate that one in ten French children has been bullied, and the Minister of Education fears that social media has the potential for public ridicule and humiliation raise. The draft measure was approved in the House of Commons on Wednesday December 1st and if passed by the Senate, France will impose some of the toughest penalties for bullying in the world.

The Brittany MP from the centrist party MoDem (Democratic Movement ), Erwan Balanant, said the new law, which sees bullies face jail time, is a way to engage with society as a whole with a “shock wave”. “It’s not about sending children to prison,” stressed Balanant. “There is a judiciary for minors that takes into account the age and judgment of the accused.” But he said criminal laws can determine “a society’s value system.”

The new crime “school bullying” affects children and adults in schools and universities, including students and staff such as canteen service teams and break guards. It would result in a maximum prison sentence of three years and a fine of up to € 45,000 (£ 38,300). If a victim of bullying kills himself or herself in school, the maximum sentence can be increased to 10 years and 150,000 euros.

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