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Berlin school refuses child of AfD politician

A Waldorf school in Berlin does not want to accept the child of an AfD politician. The school's refusal had sparked strife among teachers, parents and students. And the city administration that deals with the school, is clearly positioning itself.

Published: March 30, 2019, 2:15 pm

    Berlin

    After parents, teachers and students debated the issue for months, the Berlin Senate declared that private schools have the right to choose their students. The decision of a Waldorf school in Berlin to reject the child of an AfD politician is thus legal in the opinion of the Senate.

    At the Waldorf School itself, the heated debate has been raging for months after the father, a Berlin AfD MP, wanted to enroll his child.

    According to the Berliner Zeitung fears were expressed at the school that the father of the child “could endanger the peace at school” by possibly making xenophobic or nationalistic statements.

    But there were admonishing voices too, defending freedom of expression. Many criticised the fact that a child should punished for being born to certain parents. At several meetings, parents discussed whether this child would be allowed to study at this school or not. In the end, last fall, the school decided that the child should not be admitted.

    Berlin Senator Sandra Scheeres (SPD) saw it as a “very critical” decision. The federation of the free Waldorf schools sided with those who defended freedom of expression saying that the school should reconsider its decision.

    The Berlin AfD parliamentary group leader Georg Pazderski dismissed the “exclusion and clan attachment”.

    The popular school, however, justified their decision by stating that there was no way to accommodate the child with the necessary impartiality and impartiality at the associated Waldorf kindergarten.

    On Thursday, the Senate School Administration announced that the school’s actions were “not objectionable”. Private schools are allowed to decide for themselves who to allow. The General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) was only “applicable in a limited way”, namely in the “discrimination on grounds of race or because of ethnic origin,” it said.

    Private schools are responsible for their own educational goals, world view, methods and content. This freedom of choice also applies to the selection of students, they argue.

    It is not the first time that a Waldorf school has had to face children whose parents belong to the so-called “New Right”.

    In Hitzacker, a school announced the termination of their contract with a family whose father is an NPD supporter. And last summer, the board of the Waldorf School in Vienna-West decided that two boys had to leave school because their mother is the philosopher Caroline Sommerfeld, an icon of the “New Right”.

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