France will sue a teenager over a dispute over the use of the headscarf

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The director of the Lycée Maurice Ravel thanks his colleagues for their support (school archive photo)

France’s prime minister says the state will sue a teenager for falsely accusing her principal of hitting her in a heated exchange over wearing an Islamic headscarf.

The principal insisted that the student remove her veil inside the school, in accordance with French law.

He resigned after death threats circulated on social media.

The Islamist threat to French schools has been taken very seriously since the murder of two teachers.

The director of the Paris school, whose name has not been made public, announced his decision in an email sent Friday to colleagues at the Lycée Maurice Ravel in the 20th arrondissement of Paris.

“I have finally made the decision to step down from my duties,” he explained, “out of concern for my own safety and that of the establishment.”

“I am leaving after seven years, rich and intense, spent at your side, and after 45 years in public education,” he wrote, thanking his colleagues for the support they had given him over the past three weeks.

In the incident, which took place on February 28, the principal told three female students that they had to obey the law by removing their headscarves.

Two complied, but the third did not and there was an altercation.

In the following days, the principal was the target of death threats on social media, which the school reported to a Ministry of the Interior hotline.

Prosecutors said two people had been detained in connection with the death threats. Their identities have not been revealed, but the Ministry of Education said they had no connection to the school.

Police were sent to patrol around the school, which was also visited by Education Minister Nicole Belloubet.

Officers found no evidence that the principal had hit the girl, and now Prime Minister Gabriel Attal has stepped in to say she will be taken to court for making false accusations.

“The state… will always support these officials, those who are on the front line against these violations of secularism, these attempts at Islamist entryism in our educational establishments,” he said.

Image source, REUTERS/Stephanie Lecocq


Education Minister Nicole Belloubet had previously offered the director her full support and tried to guarantee his safety.

Politicians on the left and right expressed outrage that an online hate campaign ended the career of a respected professor.

“This government is incapable of protecting our schools,” said Marine Le Pen of the far-right group National Rally in X, formerly known as Twitter.

“It is a defeat for the state… and the gangrene of Islamism gains even more ground,” said his niece Marion Maréchal, of the rival far-right Reconquista party.

“This is where you end up when your policy is ‘don’t rock the boat.’ This is where all those little surrenders lead,” said Bruno Retailleau of the center-right Republicans.

“It is unacceptable. When a director resigns due to death threats, it is a collective failure,” said Boris Vallaud of the Socialist Party.

Separately, several schools in Paris were forced to close on Wednesday after receiving bomb threats from apparent Islamists.

Last week, 30 other schools in the Paris area received similar threats, accompanied by a video of a beheading.

While investigators are obliged to take the threats seriously, they cannot rule out that they are part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

Prime Minister Attal warned earlier this month that the Kremlin had embarked on a “massive destabilization enterprise” to undermine French support for Ukraine.

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