A French elementary school principal has backed off earlier statements saying children would not be able to abstain from eating meat "for religious reasons."
The principal of Jules-Ferry de Bondy primary school in the Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis sent a letter to parents recently saying students would be compelled to eat the meat served for school lunches regardless of their religious beliefs, The Local.fr reported Thursday.
"I remind you that, conforming to local regulations, and school rules, every child will be served meat. The children must eat their meat," the letter read. "If, for religious reasons, you don't want your child to eat meat, I invite you to meet with me, because we will not accept that situation."
"I remind you that your child is being educated in a school in the Republic, and that secularism -- one of the foundations of the Republic -- must be respected in its entirety," the principal wrote.
The letter quickly spread online after parents posted it on Twitter and the school has since said students will not be forced to eat the meat.