- 1 update
Two Muslim schoolboys from Lancashire who were barred from classes because they would not shave off their beards have been sent home from their school.
Both 14-year-olds had been placed in "isolation" from the start of the new term at Mount Carmel Roman Catholic High School in Accrington.
Talks were held with the families of the two boys to resolve the problem but neither side backed down and the school has now decided the pupils can only return to school when they are clean-shaven.
Headteacher Xavier Bowers has stressed that the matter is not one of religion but about dress code.
In a statement issued today, he said: "At Mount Carmel RC High School, we believe that it's important to be clear about what we expect from students in all aspects of school life, including appearance and uniform.
"When disputes arise we do our best to deal with them in a reasonable and understanding manner and to resolve them to everyone's satisfaction if at all possible.
"Pupils and parents are made aware of the rules on appearance and uniform before they start attending the school, know that they apply to everyone and are regularly reminded of this."
Last week, Mr Bowers told the Lancashire Telegraph that the decision to place the boys in isolation had not been taken lightly.
He said: "I have spent quite a lot of time researching the issue and speaking to Muslim elders.
"There is nothing specifically written in the Koran about wearing a beard. It is a choice those boys are making.
"However inclusive we are, we have standards to maintain."
A relative of one of the youngsters labelled the decision as "pure discrimination".