Philosophy teacher suspended for strippingAP , Associated Press
Jan. 10, 1997 3:18 AM ET
PARIS (AP) _ It's a cross between philosophy class and strip poker.
High school teacher Bernard Defrance told his students that each time they stumped him with a riddle, he would shed a piece of clothing _ starting with his trademark bow tie.
As it turns out, they were a bit too good at the game _ during one round of the game in November, the 51-year-old Defrance was left standing naked before his class.
Pierre-de-Coubertin high school in Meaux, about 30 miles east of Paris, has decided that even philosophical exploration has to have limits, and has suspended him, the newspaper France-Soir reported Thursday.
Defrance, who has taught at the school since 1988 and written several books on philosophy, defended his teaching style.
``Students until this point have lived only scholarly situations where ... above all they learn to submit to someone,'' Defrance said on France 2 television Thursday night.
``It is the mission of schools to allow (students) to experience their liberty in real terms, and not in the imagination, in drugs and risk situations.''
Not everyone agreed.
``There is a limit beyond which philosophical provocation becomes unacceptable,'' Guy Coissard, the academic inspector for the Seine-et-Marne region, told France-Soir. ``There are a minimum of rules to respect.''
While some students were shocked by Defrance's techniques, others admired his candor.
``It was to show he was like us,'' a female student told French TV, which did not give her name. ``There was nothing sexual about it.''
School administrators took their time cracking down on Defrance, who had described his ``philosophical game'' in a 1996 book ``La Planete Lyceenne'' (``High School Planet''). He also wrote ``Sanctions and Discipline at School.''
Rumors of his intellectual excesses have been circulating for some time, but it was only in November that he was fully bared. Another teacher at the school rushed into the class upon hearing the students' reaction to Defrance disrobing.
In December, the parents of one student filed a complaint with local police claiming ``sexual exhibitionism.'' School inspectors suspended Defrance on Jan. 3.