A teacher has been stabbed to death by a pupil during a lesson at a school in southwest France, government officials have said.

The victim, a 50-year-old Spanish teacher, was stabbed in the chest at Saint Thomas d’Aquin private high school in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, near Bordeaux, broadcaster BFM TV reported.

A 16-year-old student at the Roman Catholic high school has been arrested and police are at the scene.

The suspect told another teacher he was possessed and heard voices that instructed him to carry out the attack, according to local media reports.

The teacher suffered cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead at around 11.30am.

Pupils fled in panic after the stabbing, according to the local newspaper Sud Ouest.

Education minister Pap Ndiaye is travelling to the scene.

“My thoughts are with the family, colleagues and the pupils,” he said.

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