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French soldiers condemned for having primary school pupils try out unloaded rifles

The Guardian

French soldiers have been criticised by the French Ministry of Defence and local education authorities for having pupils aged 10 and under try out unloaded assault rifles during a French Army visit to a primary school.

It is striking that there has been no similar outcry regarding similar armed forces activities in schools in the UK, which are driven by the UK MoD, rather than condemned by it.

At least some of the 11,000 armed forces to secondary schools that take place here each year involve students being shown military weaponry. A growing number of schools have a Cadet Force, which see students as young as 10 trained to use a rifle, and take part in mock battles. The annual Camo Day involves primary school pupils dressing up in armed forces uniform, being taught how to march, and being visited by members of the armed forces, who often come in armoured military vehicles. And Department for Education and MoD-funded 'alternative provision with a military ethos' sees military-style activities run by (mostly) armed forces veterans in primary and secondary schools, for both struggling students and whole schools. Some such schemes have either the instructors or the students wearing military camouflage clothing.

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