What is the #PasDeVague movement in France?

A new film starring François Civil in cinemas focuses on viral social media movement, but what is it actually about?

Teachers shared their experiences online using the hashtag.
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A new film titled Pas de Vagues starring French actor François Civil was recently released, but did you know it is based on a real social movement in France? 

#PasDeVague (Don’t Make Waves) is a hashtag first used on Twitter, now X, in 2018 by teachers to highlight bullying and harassment they have experienced from students. 

It started when a video went viral online showing a teacher in a Parisian suburb being threatened by a student with a fake gun. 

This sparked a wave of teachers coming forward to tell similar tales from the classroom using the hashtag.

Many who shared their stories said they received no support from their directors or hierarchy after reporting threats, insults, harassment and even violence. 

The meaning behind this hashtag comes from this lack of support, and the idea that school directors and those high up in education would rather avoid huge disturbance than support their staff.

Read more: My experience in France as a university English teacher 

Film is based on a true story

The namesake film is based on the true story of the film’s director, Teddy Lussi-Modeste, a former teacher who was wrongly accused of harassment by students after taking a shy thirteen year old under his wing. 

In the film teacher Julien turns to his colleagues for support, only to be told to not make a fuss in face of adversity in order to keep the peace. 

In French media, Pas De Vague has been described as the #MeToo equivalent for the public education sector in France. 

In 2018 the wave of testimonies prompted officials to speak out.

“Threatening a teacher is unacceptable,” said President Emmanuel Macron, and he asked his government to do everything possible to ensure problematic students were dealt with appropriately. 

The film received a lukewarm reception, and prior to the film’s release some suggested it discredited real victims of harassment in schools. 

In response to these criticisms, director Lussi-Modeste assured that he hoped to portray there were two victims in the film, both the teacher and the student who was embroiled in the fiasco. 

He added that the film aimed to shine light on the difficulties faced by teachers and the need for further protocols in place to prevent these difficulties. 

He hopes there can be measures implemented to stop these sorts of problems in schools; more teachers who are better paid and different support staff available to teachers and pupils.

Read more: What are the options, pros, and cons of teaching English in France?