French court rules schools must provide pork-free meals for pupils

French court rules schools must provide pork-free meals for pupils

The court has ruled that pork-free meals must be an option (Stock image)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A court in France has ruled that schools should provide a pork-free lunch option for pupils, particularly for Jewish and Muslim students who don't eat the meat.

The legal case was won yesterday (August 28) by Muslim organisation Ligue de Defense Judiciaire des Musulmans against the Chalon-sur-Saone authority in Burgundy, according to The Guardian.

Nicolas Garderes, a lawyer for the Muslim organisation, said “secular principles come second to children’s rights."

The court in Dijon has now annulled a decision made in 2015 by the town hall which meant schools didn't have to provide a pork-free meal option.

But officials from Chalon-sur-Saone say that they are going to appeal the decision.

The judge said the reason was not his concern with religion, but that without the alternative meal many Muslim pupils were missing out on food.

He said this was "not in keeping with the spirit of the international convention on the rights of children” and was also not in the children's interests.

The mayor of Chalon-sur-Saone, who is a member of rightwing party Les Republicains, claimed his decision to not provide the pork-free meal was to uphold the principle of secularism.

Gilles Platret also claimed the timing of the court's decision is poor, as there are just days before the school term starts again and "it is materially impossible for the town of Chalon-sur-Saone to change the operation of a public service in such a short time without risking the continuity of that service."

But the French national consultative committee on human rights has also claimed the action of the town hall was reliant upon an “erroneous interpretation of the principles of secularism and equality."