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Report.  Far from the clichés of the film: a Segpa, that’s it!

The stereotypes have a hard life. All the more so when they are maintained by media as powerful as television, cinema or social networks. And even more when they target those who are on the wrong side of the fence, the one where we are not equipped – socially, culturally, economically, linguistically – to defend ourselves.

Pupils in the adapted general and professional education sections are on this side. They are too often called “the Segpa”, as if to deny what they are: first and foremost students. As if to better convince themselves that they do not feel the way we look at them and which, alone, constitutes them as “different” students.

A setting that is both protected… and enviable

To check a cliché or see its inanity, you have to jump the barrier and, one April morning drowned in continuous rain, go to the Hector-Berlioz college, in the still popular Paris of the 18and district, which hosts one of the capital’s thirteen Segpa.

First surprise, in front of electoral panels plastered with posters in tribute to the Argentinian rugby player Federico Martin Aramburu, “murdered by the extreme right”: the Segpa is not in the college. She has her own premises, two streets away. An originality which one might think, at first glance, would aggravate the suspicion of segregation against these “apart” students.

There is nothing worse than children damaged by life who arrive in a college that is itself damaged, dilapidated. »

Farid Boukhelifa, college mediator

Here, not only is this not the case, but it is even the opposite. Farid Boukhelifa, the principal of the establishment, has in fact established a principle: on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesday mornings, and on Friday afternoons, the pupils of 3and of general section take place in the premises of the Segpa. In this way, everyone can get to know and respect each other, while offering Segpa students a framework that is both protected… and enviable.

“Here everything comes from us”

On the roof of the high red brick building, a 400 m educational garden2, designed by SVT teachers, is in progress. At the bottom in the courtyard, a splendid sports platform – imagined by the PE teachers – can be seen. “Here everything comes from us, not from above”, remarks the principal proudly. The plateau is not reserved for PE classes, it is accessible to students during recess and lunch breaks.

The one we call here “Mr. Saïd”, the mediator, who intervenes within the framework of an agreement with an ethnopsychiatry association, notes: “This allows students to express themselves, to let go, to live together. And, suddenly, when they come back to class, they concentrate better. »

Farid Boukhelifa squarely theorized the approach. Here the slightest graffiti is immediately cleaned, the torn curtains have been changed, the rooms repainted… “There is nothing worse he explains, only children damaged by life who arrive in a college that is itself damaged, dilapidated. » Offering them a setting that is not only beautiful but also rewarding becomes a pedagogical challenge.

“Very intelligent, lively kids, sometimes artists”

“Damaged by life…” Without going into details, Nelly Gillard, the director of the Segpa, talks about students with a very complicated life course: “These are children who often combine all the difficulties: school, social, family. » Stories that sometimes go through years spent in refugee camps, intra-family violence, parental absence, already complicated relationships with the law… “Very intelligent, lively, clever kids, sometimes artists, who may have a more or less clearly identified disability. They often come to us, after CM2, with an end level of CE2. »

In the Segpa, with a maximum of 16 per class, they are cared for by school teachers for French, maths, English, by general college teachers for other subjects, and by PLP (teachers of vocational high school) for so-called “vocational field” subjects. At Berlioz, there are two: “housing professions” and “sales, distribution, logistics”.

Jeremy wanted to be a dentist

It is precisely in the “housing” workshop that we find Jérémie, a pupil of 3and whose sparkling gaze and good humor perfectly illustrate the words of the director. He doesn’t have class today (the Segpa is almost empty of students, week of internship obliges), but he came to refine his “professional pass”, which should allow him to access the vocational school. At least he tries… “Rhaaa, I’m fed up with this PC of m…! » Shéhérazade enrages, coming for the same reason and who has already had to start her work over twice, betrayed by computers, alas, no more functional than those of many general colleges…

Jérémie discusses with Julien Cellier, the professor of the professional field “housing”. He wanted to be a dentist, a dream honed over his years of Segpa: “I wanted to be a dental technician, but now I want to be a pedorthist. » A choice made during his experience in the field.

“Help to project”

Internships, meetings, discovery trail: “We have to show them as many things as possible, details Julien, and especially the professions of tomorrow. »Nelly Gillard abounds: “We must help them to project themselves into other professions than footballer, lawyer or pharmacist, without devaluing them. We tell them: “OK, we’ll follow you, but we’ll take you to see other things, and you’ll see.” »

The paths of many former students testify to the successes of this operation. “Here, we take everyone at their level, trying to take them as far as possible” she continues.

But sometimes, the reluctance in the face of the terrible image of the Segpa is the strongest: “Parents refuse orientation in Segpa, whereas it is it which would be appropriate best for their child. In fact, they condemn this one to a long galley in general college. Or, we find these students in certain specialized private establishments, because often the refusal of the Segpa comes from the wealthiest families. »

The director of the structure then expresses her “rage, almost a desire to cry” in front of what a film like the Segpas: “These are 30-year-old actors who act stupid, it’s not our reality. »

She dreads to see “wiped out ten years of work to de-stigmatize our students”.Life raft launched to children shipwrecked in school competitions, the Segpa deserve rather to be shown as an example.