French school excludes Muslim girl for wearing headband

A French family is set to sue a school for separating their daughter from her classmates for wearing a five-centimetre-wide headband and a long skirt that was deemed too religious. France has strict rules about religious symbols in school.


The family of a Muslim girl who was segregated from her classmates for wearing a headband and skirt covering her trousers is set to sue the establishment for religious discrimination and harassment.

Teachers at the school at Villiers-sur-Marne southeast of Paris considered that her outfit broke France's strict rules forbidding pupils from wearing religious symbols, be they Muslim veils, Christian crosses or Jewish skullcaps.

The teenager was forced to spend her entire time at school in a classroom on her own where she was set educational tasks by her teachers while she refused to change her dress.

In mid-March a local magistrate ruled that her exclusion from normal school life was unlawful and ordered her immediate reintegration.

The 15-year-old’s mother told reporters: “She was wearing a headband just five centimetres wide and a long skirt and the school authorities decided these were religious symbols. What utter nonsense.”

Her family, with the support of the French anti-Islamophobia Association (CCIF) have said they will sue the school authorities for discrimination and harassment.

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