The decision was taken not because it was believed the animals had the potential to learn, but so that some classes at the primary school could be saved.
The Jules Ferry school is located in Crêts-en-Belledonne, a village in the Alps northeast of Grenoble, recently registered 15 sheep as students. The decision was taken not because it was believed the animals had the potential to learn, but so that some classes at the primary school could be saved.
After local authorities announced plans to close one of its 11 classes because the number of enrolled students fell from 266 to 261, one local farmer decided to help the school by enrolling some of his sheep.
According to a report in The Local, a local herder and his dog came to school on Tuesday with around 50 sheep in tow. Fifteen sheep were ‘officially’ registered, after showing their birth certificates.
“Added to register was a pupil called ‘Baa-bete’ and another called ‘Saute-Mouton’ – the sheepish equivalent of ‘leapfrog’ – in a comic ceremony watched by children, parents and teachers,” the newspaper reported.
The herder appeared with his ‘new students’ outside the school for a special ceremony that was attended by around 200 teachers, pupils and officials. Children at the event held signs reading, “We are not sheep”.
The town’s mayor Jean-Louis Maret backed the idea of enrolling the sheep as students, and hit out at the government’s “annoying threshold logic” that prompted the threat of closure.