Students return to school after hostage-taking in France

Shaken students met with psychologists Friday at the school where a former teacher held 23 people hostage for several hours the day before.

The hostage-taker, 33-year-old Nicolas Vilpail, had surrendered to police and was in custody in La Fleche, about 230 kilometers (140 miles) southwest of Paris, police said. He was expected to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

The Colbert de Torcy High School opened as usual Friday morning, but only a few students trickled in, said rector Philippe Ravaz. Police remained stationed outside the school.

Instead of attending regular classes, students and teachers met informally to talk about the events, and psychologists met with individual students, Ravaz said. He said the atmosphere was calm, even if a few students remained shaken.

Vilpail calmly entered the school Thursday afternoon, then pulled out a gun that fires rubber bullets and took a class of 21 students, between 16 and 18 years old, and two teachers' aides hostage. He surrendered peacefully after several hours of negotiations involving an intervention force.

Vilpail had worked at the school until two years ago, then resigned from the national education system in November, Education Minister Gilles de Robien said Friday, reports the AP.


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