France seems hellbent on interfering with personal freedom in the name of advancing secularism. If someone wants to wear a headscarf, yarmulke, or cross, that seems like a personal and private choice; it's arguably a symbol of their dedication, yes, and a sign for others to recognize them as a believer. However, it doesn't actively engage me; neither does it challenge nor denigrate my own beliefs.
On the other hand, placing the 10 Commandments at a court house (Montgomery, AL, Winston-Salem, NC Nash County, NC) does.
In a way then, by banning head scarfs and other religious apparel in public schools, France is guilty of the same thing our right-wing wackos are when they insist on plastering the 10 Commandements everywhere: trying to force a particular moral code on people with variant beliefs.