False Kidnapping Leads to Court Appearance for Secondary-School Student

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20-year-old Alexandre Jean-Baptiste – communications student in Bordeaux – came before a court in Libourne charged with being behind a hoax kidnapping at his former secondary school

Picture the scene – a boy running screaming through the school corridors, disguised like the killer from the horror film Scream. This is what the teachers and students at Max Linder Secondary School in the town of Libourne went through on the 11th of April last. Following this somewhat dodgy hoax, two complaints were filed. The management board of the school filed a suit against the two young men involved, who were accused of premeditated violence and complicity. After being detained by police for a few hours and a raid at his home, the whole thing doesn’t seem so amusing any more.

Alexandre Jean-Baptiste and his 18-year-old class-mate from terminale (equivalent of Leaving Cert year) came out of the experience with a hard-earned moral lesson. For Alexandre, he was also sentenced to a stage de citoyenneté. Literally meaning a “course in citizenship”, it’s a form of punishment designed to remind a young offender of the values of tolerance and respect for others of the French Republic.

Just a small grouping of students were aware of this bizarre project at the beginning. Some had even volunteered to take part in this filmed project. Alexandre dreams of a career in television and his hero is none other than prankster-in-chief extraordinaire Rémi Gaillard. For some time, the young man has been presenting his own show called “JT décalé” on YouTube.

In a video dated the 6th of April, the youngster announced that he was going to come good on a dare made to simulate a kidnapping in his former secondary school – a challenge that was motivated by the dramatic qualification of France for the World Cup. He reminded students that he had promised that if France qualified for the World Cup, he’d carry out the fake kidnapping and wanted to let them in on the secret in order to keep the prank “funny”. In the end, however, the laughs were very few.

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