Authorities said the teacher spoke to his class about caricatures of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
The French counter-terrorism prosecutor opened a murder investigation with a suspected terrorist motive.
Four people, one of them minors, were arrested hours later, said the anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office, Jean-Francois Ricard. The police usually fan out to find family and friends of potential suspects in terrorist cases.
Mr Macron attended the school where the teacher worked in Conflans-Saint-Honorine and met with staff.
An Associated Press reporter saw three ambulances at the scene and heavily armed police officers in the area, as well as police cars on nearby streets.
Mr. Macron said, “One of our compatriots was murdered today for teaching … freedom of expression, freedom to believe or not to believe.”
He said the attack shouldn’t split France because the extremists want it to. “We must all stand together as citizens,” he said.
The incident came while Mr Macron’s government was working on a bill against Islamist radicals that authorities claim are creating a parallel society outside the values of the French Republic.
France has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe, with up to five million members, and Islam is the country’s second largest religion.
A police officer said the suspect, armed with a knife and an airsoft gun – which fires plastic pellets – was shot about 600 meters from the location where the male teacher was killed after failing to respond to the order had to lay down his arms and acted threateningly.
The alleged attacker was shot dead by police after the teacher died on the street in Conflans-Saint-Honorine.
French President Emmanuel Macron denounced a so-called “Islamist terrorist attack” and called on the nation to stand together against extremism.
The teacher had received threats after opening a discussion “for debate” about the cartoons about 10 days ago, the police officer told The Associated Press.
One student’s parent filed a complaint against the teacher, another police officer said, adding that the alleged killer did not have a child in the school.
An ID card was found at the scene, but the police verified the identity. French media reported that the suspect was an 18-year-old Chechen who was born in Moscow. This information could not be confirmed immediately.
France has seen occasional violence in recent months involving its Chechen community – in the Dijon region, in the Mediterranean city of Nice and in the western city of Saint-Dizier – which is believed to be linked to local criminal activity.
It was not known what connection the attacker might have with the teacher or whether he had accomplices.
The attack marks the second terrorist incident since the January 2015 newsroom massacre opened in the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which published cartoons of the Prophet of Islam.
At the beginning of the process, the paper republished cartoons of the Prophet to underline the right to freedom of expression.
Shortly afterwards, a young man from Pakistan was arrested after stabbing two people with a cleaver in front of the newspaper’s former offices. They did not suffer any life-threatening injuries.
The 18-year-old told police he was upset about the publication of the cartoons.
In a video recently posted on social media, a man who claimed to be a father at the school said the murdered teacher recently showed an offensive picture of a man and told students it was “the prophet of Muslims.”
Before Teacher showed the pictures, he asked Muslim children to leave the room because he wanted to show something shocking, the man said.
“What was the message he wanted to send to these children? Why does a history teacher act like this in front of 13-year-olds? “Asked the man.
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