French schools must send home Muslim girls who refuse to take part in mixed sports classes or wear clothes that imply religious observance, according to government guidelines issued to state teachers.
The education ministry drew up the 83-page handbook to encourage a firmer response by staff as France's ban on religion in schools is challenged by Muslim pupils and parents.
Jean-Michel Blanquer, the education minister, said that the existing "school charter on secularism", issued by François Hollande's Socialist administration in 2014, was too soft and avoided enforcement. Teachers needed encouragement to combat conduct that breaches France's secularist principles, he said.
"You have to explain and punish if necessary," he told l'Express.