France To Sue Teen for Accusing Headteacher in Headscarf Row

France’s Prime Minister announced that the state will take legal action against a teenager for making false accusations against her headteacher of physical assault during a dispute about her Islamic headscarf.

The principal demanded the student take off her headscarf while at school, in accordance with French law.

Following the spread of death threats against him on social media platforms, he chose to step down from his position.

The threat from Islamist groups to educational institutions in France is regarded with utmost seriousness, especially following the tragic killings of two educators.

In 2020, Samuel Paty was brutally beheaded in a Parisian suburb, and five months ago, Dominique Bernard lost his life at his educational facility in Arras.

The principal of a Parisian school communicated his resignation to his colleagues at Maurice Ravel Lycée, located in the 20th district, via an email sent last Friday.

“I have finally taken the decision to quit my functions,” he explained, “out of concern for my own safety and that of the establishment.”

“I leave 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 shown him over the past three weeks.

On the 28th of February, during the incident, the principal advised three female students to adhere to the law by removing their headscarves, leading to compliance by two and a confrontation with the third.

Following the incident, the principal became the target of death threats on social media, which the school reported to a hotline managed by the interior ministry.

The prosecutors have detained two individuals in relation to the threats, whose identities remain undisclosed, and who are reportedly unaffiliated with the school.

Security measures included police patrols around the school and a visit from the Education Minister, Nicole Belloubet.

Investigations revealed no proof of the principal’s alleged assault on the student, leading Prime Minister Gabriel Attal to announce her impending legal prosecution for the false claims.

“The state… will always stand with these officials, those who are on the frontline faced with these breaches of secularism, these attempts at Islamist entryism in our education establishments,” he said.

Leaders from across the political spectrum voiced their dismay at the termination of a reputable educator’s career due to an online hate campaign.

“This government is incapable of protecting our schools,” Marine Le Pen of the hard-right National Rally wrote on X.

Her niece, Marion Maréchal, from the conservative Reconquest party, commented, “It is defeat for the state… and the gangrene of Islamism gains yet more ground.”

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

Boris Vallaud from the Socialist Party declared, “It’s unacceptable. When a headteacher steps down because of death threats, it is a collective failure.”

Additionally, a series of bomb threats forced the closure of several schools in Paris on a Wednesday, believed to be from Islamist sources.

The previous week saw about 30 schools in the Paris vicinity receiving similar threats, which included a video depicting a beheading.

Authorities, while treating these threats with seriousness, have not dismissed the possibility that they might be part of a misinformation effort by Russia.

Earlier in the month, Prime Minister Attal highlighted that Russia had initiated a significant campaign to destabilize and weaken French support for Ukraine.