France's education minister says every school in the country will hold a minute of silence Thursday in memory of a high school teacher who was fatally stabbed in front of students Wednesday morning. Authorities say the Spanish language teacher, a woman in her 50s, was stabbed in the chest by a 16-year-old student at Saint-Thomas d'Aquin school in southwest France, the BBC reports. CNN reports that according to its affiliate BFMTV, the student, who claimed to be "possessed," fled to another classroom after the attack and told the teacher there that a voice had told him to carry out the stabbing.
The school is a private Catholic school in the town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, near Bayonne. Local prosecutor Jerome Bourrier said Wednesday that the suspect is in custody and was not previously known to police, the BBC reports. Pap Ndiaye, the education minister, visited the school Wednesday afternoon, the Guardian reports. "It appears that this tragedy could not have been foreseen," he told reporters afterward. He said a murder investigation has been opened and a psychology unit is taking care of around 90 students, including some who witnessed the attack, reports the AP.
"The murder of a teacher in Saint-Jean-de-Luz fills us with intense emotion," French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement. "I share the pain of her family, of her colleagues, of her students, of our teachers who dedicate their lives to transmitting knowledge to future generations. The nation is with you." Authorities say there is no sign the attack was linked to terrorism. (Read more France stories.)