Parents of pupils from the Peace School turned to Guben’s city administration with an open letter. They have expressed their concerns about the “extremely aggressive behavior” of two sixth graders, both migrant children.
The school in Guben, a town on the Neisse river in the state of Brandenburg, Germany, had euphorically applauded the arrival of the “protection seekers” at the end of 2015. But the nasty reality has since dawned on the parents of German children at the establishment.
The letter, which was sent to the city council as the school’s sponsor two weeks ago, has been causing a stir on social media since last week. According to information contained in it, two Syrian students from grades 6a and 6b have been showing “extremely aggressive verbal and physical behavior” for several weeks now.
The aggressiveness of the two had increased over a short time. Children have been reporting attacks almost daily and several criminal charges have been filed with the prosecution.
According to the letter, a plastic bag was pulled over the head of a student in the street, while another had been strangled. Girls are continuously sexually molested. They are grabbed by their genitals and touched in sensitive areas.
“Parents are afraid to send their children to school alone,” says the letter. Mothers who wanted to intervene were verbally abused. “The mentioned students have no respect,” was the conclusion.
The author of the letter, who does not want to be named, stated on request that there are several parents behind the letter and that the situation has been ongoing since the beginning of this school year. In addition to the behavior of the two students, the parents criticise the school in the first place. “In our view, the school does not do enough to protect our children,” says the letter.
“It has been pointed out again and again, for example at parents’ meetings. But the problem is hushed up,” one father told German regional daily, the Lausitzer Rundschau in a telephone interview.
Politicians and authorities have also responded to the letter. Mayor Fred Mahro (CDU) commented on Thursday last week shortly before midnight immediately after a business trip on his Facebook page on the subject.
He understands the letter as a call for help, which he takes very seriously, he said. “According to the information available to me today, I have no doubt about the description of the situation.”
On Friday morning, the mayor then met with the head of the peace school, Frank Müller, and the responsible school board, Frank Nedoma. After this consultation, Mahro said, “There is no justification for such disrespectful and aggressive behavior. The origin does not matter to me. Everyone has to abide by the rules and regulations, which I expressly expect of all students. It is now clear that the allegations were unreservedly stated.”
The Mayor also had discussions with District Administrator Harald Altekrüger (CDU) and the head of the Guben police station, Matthias Rammholdt. Mahro said he would be giving feed-back about the results of these consultations at the city administration’s offices in Guben.
Parents of the peace school who were interested, were invited to attend. “The appointment should and can also be used for clarifying discussions and a further exchange with the parents,” said Mahro. A meeting was held last week, and attended by 67 mothers and fathers.
Mahro had already submitted an offer of conversation in his first reaction on Facebook.
The events have also made some parents rethink their choice of school. A father wrote in a mail to to the Rundschau: “Fortunately, we were able to accommodate my elder son in Neuzelle at a private school. Just to save him from that, we’ve had to invest around 8000 euros for these four years.”
The State Education Office in Cottbus said in reaction: “We take these allegations very seriously and have them checked carefully,” according to Uwe Mader, head of the State Education Office, who learned about the letter on Thursday afternoon.
After the conversation on Friday, it is assumed that “only a part of the allegations were known to the school management”, the State Education Office claimed. “Also, several criminal charges were not known.”
Mader reiterated that there had been school action, including talks with the parents of the two students and disciplinary action. In the further process school board Frank Nedoma will be involved, he said.
To improve the situation, numerous measures involving increased funding were agreed to after meetings. The two Syrian students will also remain in the school. Among other things:
– The talks with the parents and the conspicuous children are continued with reference to
standards of behavior in both the school and the mayor
– a request for assistance from the youth welfare office is made
– the work of the prevention council with the schools be accelerated
– An improvement of the communication lines within and between the authorities and parents are organised
– the examination of a possibly temporary increase in the number of hours of social work at the school
– in addition, offers for prevention in schools and recreational facilities are submitted, and
– information on sanctions in cases of conspicuous children is also provided through the school conference.
The interlocutors agreed that the problems can not be solved on an ad hoc basis; much more is needed for further cooperation between the parents, the school and the city administration. The measures can help to improve the situation and can be transferred to other schools in the city.