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"It's Revolting" French School Probed After Marking Non-Pork-Eaters With Yellow Tags

Amid the migrant crisis in Europe, and the Czechs pulling people off trains and writing on their arms, a French municipality launched a probe into an Auxerre elementary school’s use of yellow tags to identify students who do not eat pork. "It's revolting. It brings back memories of dark times," noted one member of the Auxerre town council, but the mayor’s office said it was "an isolated, clumsy and unfortunate initiative."

As Haaretz reports,

The city of Auxerre, located 105 miles southeast of Paris, opened the investigation on Friday after parents complained to local media about the school’s initiative, in which neck strings bearing red and yellow plastic discs were placed on pupils ahead of lunchtime at the school cafeteria.

 

The pupils wore the tags for one day before the faculty was instructed to stop using them.

 

Malika Ounes, a conservative member of the Auxerre city council, told the news website Creusot-Infos.com: “It’s revolting. It brings back memories of dark times,” in reference to the requirement in Nazi-occupied France that Jews wear yellow stars on their clothes.

 

Among the pupils instructed to wear the tags were Muslims and vegetarians. Reports in French media did not mention any Jewish pupils.

Some parents also complained about the tags, whose use Mayor Guy Perez of the Socialist Party termed “unfortunate.”

But other parents said they were the result of good intentions.

One Muslim mother of two boys attending the school, identified by the RTL broadcaster only as Sonia, said: “The yellow tag doesn’t even correspond with the yellow star. I don’t think there’s a scandal here, just an error that doesn’t require all this rebuke.”

 

Christian Sautier, director of communications in the mayor’s office, said it was “an isolated, clumsy and unfortunate initiative” that lasted only one day. He stressed the decision to use these tags was taken by canteen staff without informing local authorities, who ended it immediately.

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The debate on the availability in public schools of pork-free dishes is a divisive issue in France, where rightist parties and other politicians advocating strict separation between religion and state see it as proof of a creeping influence on the public sphere, mostly by Muslims immigrants.