Berlin schools fail totally at integration
A school boy who threatened a fellow classmate with death, is still attending the Paul Simmel Elementary School in Tempelhof, Berlin.
Published: March 29, 2018, 9:10 am
At many inner-city schools, most conflicts among students are now religiously motivated. Classmates are being pressured if they don’t observe the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, the Berliner Zeitung reported.
It is part of everyday school life for many teachers. “There are already many examples of religious bullying in schools today,” a Neukölln headmistress said recently.
The daughter of a 41-year-old man, who wants to remain anonymous, is a student in that school. “Our daughter was mobbed by Muslim students because she doesn’t believe in Allah,” said the father in conversation with the Berliner Zeitung.
For about three years now there have been religiously-motivated incidents at school, he explains. The most recent one was at the end of February. The delicate daughter had been asked by a classmate about her religion.
In an earlier incident his daughter had even been threatened with death because she was not Muslim. The physically superior student had said to the then-second-grader that she should be beaten and then killed because she doesn’t believe in Allah.
“We, the parents, were scolded by the classmate as stupid, because we don’t raise our daughter to believe in Allah,” says the father. Earlier, about three years ago, according to her father, something similar had happened to the girl. Anyone who does not believe in Allah will be burned, as a classmate allegedly explained to the girl.
The father is angry that the headmaster refuses to address these issues in school circulars. Notions such as “tolerance” and “freedom of religion” ought to be a permanent feature of teaching in the classroom. “There was a confrontation between the students each time,” says the father. The incident was discussed in the presence of the headmaster and social worker. “For my daughter, this confrontation was traumatic,” says the father.
The longtime headmaster Thomas Albrecht confirmed that he was aware of the incidents and that he was taking them seriously. “Basically, the students are heard while in disputes, and then appropriate steps are being taken.” This has happened in all three cases. The parents were invited to discuss the matter. “There was a tolerance project in the class,” he says. In all incidents they have coordinated a further course of action with the school inspectorate and police.
The educational administration has also been aware of the problem for a long time. “We take this very seriously,” says Beate Stoffers, a spokeswoman for Senator Scheeres. But while all the school officials are constantly talking and appeasing parents, the boy is still attending school.
In a letter to the father, the headmaster stated that he considered these religious taunts “from a year ago as closed”. Everything was allegedly discussed at official meetings and during class hours. Nothing happened to the offenders.
The father disagrees with school authorities. He says it would have worked much better if the parents had become more involved.
The father says that in WhatsApp groups of elementary students there was also an ISIS decapitation video circulating. The headmaster confirmed that. Therefore, a complaint had been filed with the police, and in this case there had also been a parental letter.
The headmaster acknowledges the problems but is doing little to resolve them it seems. “More than 70 percent of the students are non-German; many did not attend kindergarten before primary school and have come together with children from other cultures for the first time ever,” he says. Small conflicts can not be avoided during the phase of cultural overload, he argues. “We proactively counteract this, and right at the beginning address the differences and similarities of the children,” he says. Yet there is little evidence of “proactively counteracting” these taunts and threats to German children.
The father says a significant number of Muslim fellow citizens are increasingly cutting themselves off from the outside world. Misunderstood tolerance simply increases the unwillingness to adapt to the environment and makes subsequent radicalization possible, he argues.
There seem to be no solutions for a real integration, the father believes. And he has already decided that his daughter should change the schools. This is how segregation continues, also at other migrant-populated schools in Berlin.
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