Community supporting French in south Florida - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Community supporting French in south Florida

BOCA RATON - French nationals living in South Florida are relying on their close community and other shows of support in the wake of Friday's deadly terrorist attacks in Paris. 

Part of Laura Menezes never left Paris.

"The way of life, definitely," she says of the things she misses most.

She moved to Florida three years ago and now teaches at Le Petit Prince Preschool in Boca Raton, where students speak French.

Many teachers at the school like Menezes have connections to the people who died in the attacks. She says everything has changed.

"My friends who tried to just have a walk in Paris on Sunday told me there is a terrible feeling just walking in the street, people are scared," she says.

Another teacher at the school says the perception of Muslims shouldn't change because of Friday's attacks.

Samia Benyounes was born in Paris and practices Islam. She says she's seen some support for her religion, but some "ignorance" as well. 

"Those were monsters and they have nothing to do with me, nothing to do with what I believe, they just hijacked basically the faith and gave it this very negative connotation," Benyounes says.

Menezes wishes she could be in Paris with her sister now, but says she is lucky to be have a French community in Boca Raton to support her.

Parents at her school like American Scott Koedel say it's times like these when the world seems a lot smaller.

"This is going to remind people in France and the United States they have a lot more in common than they might think," Koedel explains.

The tight-knit group shows teachers like Menezes are not alone, even if they are a half a world away.

"For us it really means our values are shared by others in the world and we can all work together to fight what happened," she says. 

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