The family had sought to avoid paying the fine on the grounds that the requirement for the girls to join the swimming lesson infringed on their religious freedom, online news website Le Matin reported.
The parents argued that, in accordance with the teachings of the Koran, they wanted to instil a sense of shame in their children before they reached puberty. Mixed swimming lessons in primary school, the family claimed, would be incompatible with such an aim.
Following the family’s appeal of the original Administrative Court verdict, the Federal Court decided to uphold the fine. The court stated that the obligation to participate in mixed swimming classes did not represent a significant assault on the family’s religious freedom.
The upper court said it agreed with the Administrative Court’s view that there was a “substantial public interest that all children take swimming lessons”.