French Secular Law
in relation to the French Government
The French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools is an amendment to the French Code of Education banning students from wearing conspicuous religious symbols in French public, primary, and secondary schools.
The law expands principles founded in existing French law, especially the constitutional requirement of laïcité: the separation of state and religious activities. This amendment prohibits conspicuous religious symbols and clothing being worn by students in public primary and secondary schools. The amendment further supports the French constitutional provision of freedom of opinion, including religious opinion.
The bill has passed France's national legislature and was signed into law by President Jacques Chirac on 15 March 2004 (thus the technical name of law 2004-228 of March 15, 2004). It came into effect on 2 September at the beginning of the new school year.
The law does not mention any particular symbol, though it is considered by some to specifically address the wearing of headscarves by Muslim schoolgirls.
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