French-American School of Rhode Island discusses Paris attacks

By Bianca Buono

bbuono@abc6.com

@BBuonoABC6

One of the many ties to France here in the U.S. is the French-American school of Rhode Island. With all the chaos in Paris right now, the school is still working to try and track down all of their family members and friends.

Faculty and students at the school spend their days immersed in French culture. For many, the recent tragedy hits very close to home.

"It’s a lot of fun, a lot of activity, a lot of joy,” said the Jean-Yves Carpanese, the head of the French-American School of Rhode Island.

Jean-Yves Carpanese described a typical Friday night in Paris but what happened two days ago was not normal.

"On Friday night I received a call from my daughter who lives in Montreal and works for a French company and has to travel extensively to France. She asked me if I heard anything. I didn’t and it was so emotional for her that she started crying in the middle of the street in Montreal,” Carpanese said.

But he could have received a much different phone call had this horrific tragedy happened a week before. His daughter was eating lunch at Le Petit Cambodge, which was one of the six targeted sites.

"My first reaction was for her because I wanted her to be safe and she was,” expressed Carpanese.

The school is still trying to get in contact with family and friends in Paris. All of Carpanese’s loved ones are safe and accounted for. But he had an entire French community here in Rhode Island looking to him for answers.

"I sent an email to the teachers, then to the parents explaining everything we are doing,” said Carpanese.

That includes ramping up security. Carpanese has received an email from the French embassy in Washington, D.C. and phone calls from the consulate in Boston.

"They talked to the local authorities so the safety for the French population is really here,” Carpanese said.

The next conversation will be with the school’s 200 students. Teachers will be answering their questions about the attack on the culture that they are all very much a part of.

© WLNE-TV 2015