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French Principal Sends Muslim Teen Home to Change

Girl’s long skirt deemed a sign of religion, and violation of controversial law

Tal Trachtman Alroy
April 30, 2015

Following France’s battle to ban burqas, the liberal-minded country has now taken on—wait for it—the long skirt.

Over the last few days, social media has been bubbling with outcries after a principal of a northeastern French school sent home a 15-year-old girl for wearing a long skirt, which he deemed “an ostentatious sign” of her Muslim faith, reported the New York Times.

“The girl was not excluded,” local official Patrice Dutot told the AFP on Tuesday. “She was asked to come back with a neutral outfit and it seems her father did not want the student to come back to school.”

Dutot said that the student, who has been identified as Sara K, always removed her veil before entering school premises in the town of Charleville-Mezieres, as is stipulated by French law.

In 2004 the country adopted a controversial law, effectively banning people from wearing “conspicuous” religious symbols, such Islamic headscarves, Jewish head coverings or Christian crosses, in French schools and public institutions. The law, which aims to implement secularity across all schools, allows only “discreet religious signs.”

“There was never any doubt that it was primarily aimed at France’s five million Muslims and what is widely perceived as creeping fundamentalism in their midst,” the Times reported in 2004.

The hashtag #JePorteMaJupeCommeJeVeux, which translates into “I wear my skirt as I please,” has been trending on twitter in France ever since the story broke.

Tal Trachtman Alroy is an intern at Tablet.