A Muslim teenager wearing a black skirt was sent home from her school in France after being told she was violating the country's policy on secular clothing.
The 15-year-old girl, known only as Sarah, had been banned from attending classes twice before due to her long black skirt, which the school said could be interpreted as having a religious affiliation.
The incident has prompted a huge backlash on social media, with the hashtag #JePorteMaJupeCommeJeVeux, or 'I wear my skirt how I want', trending worldwide.
Local education official Patrice Dutot told AFP News in French on 28 April: "The girl was not excluded, 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."
He also said that the girl normally wears a veil, which she always removes before entering school.
Sarah, who lives in the town of Charleville-Mezieres in the northern Champagne-Ardenne, told local daily newspaper L’Ardennais, that her skirt was “nothing special, it’s very simple, there’s nothing conspicuous. There is no religious sign whatsoever”.
The school argues that the skirt falls into the category of hijabs, kippahs or large Christian crosses and therefore breaks France's strict laws on secularity that govern its state schools.
According to the CCIF Islamophobia watchdog, around 130 students were turned away from class last year for outfits deemed openly religious.