• Germany edition
 
City struggles to fire teacher for 'racial abuse'
Photo: DPA

City struggles to fire teacher for 'racial abuse'

Published: 10 Sep 2012 10:37 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Sep 2012 10:37 GMT+02:00

A German teacher being investigated for calling a student a nigger has been shifted around from school to school for at least 12 years because his racism upsets parents – but authorities are struggling to fire him.

A 16-year-old girl at the Friedrich-Bayer Upper School in Berlin contacted the police last week after she said he called her a nigger.

The teacher, named in German media only as Karl-Heinz Sch., had been talking to his class, telling them, “niggers are people like you and me,” the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported on Monday.

When shortly afterwards the teenager entered the room, he called her a nigger – and when she protested, the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper said, he wrote the word on the board. The school board later confirmed that the teacher had insulted other students too, although he denied the allegations.

Yet one fellow teacher told the Tagesspiegel, “It is not criminal to be right-wing. There are enough left-wingers working in schools.”

It then emerged that the man had been moved through a succession of schools – and had even been suspended, but had successfully taken legal action to return to work.

One father whose son attended the Berlin Goethe Upper School told the paper he and other parents had forced the school to get rid of the teacher after he had concentrated his classes on militaristic topics. “We threatened to no longer send our children to the school,” he said.

The paper said the school authorities had an “immense” file on the man – since he was suspended from the Steglitz Grammar School in 2000 – parents had organised protests after they said he denied the Holocaust during lessons.

Yet the school failed to remove him from work completely as there were not enough witness accounts. The teacher went to court and in the second instance, reversed his suspension.

The BZ newspaper said on Monday that he could only be dismissed if incitement could be proved against him. He told the paper, “I feel relaxed about an investigation.”

He might as well, the paper suggested, because at 63 he is only a couple of years away from retiring – and the regulations mean he will continue to be paid his full wage until the end of any legal process. He was paid in full during the seven years he was suspended – around €250,000, according to the BZ – before a court said he could return to work.

He has been teaching again since 2007, the paper said – although the Berlin education authorities could not immediately tell the paper how many schools he had been working in. As soon as parents heard about his past, or got angry enough about what he was doing, he was moved on to another school.

City school authorities are checking the case with a view to getting rid of the teacher. “We cannot allow any room in school for racist comments,” Beate Stoffers, spokeswoman for education councillor Sandra Scheeres, told the Berliner Morgenpost.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

11:28 September 10, 2012 by The-ex-pat
Yet one fellow teacher told the Tagesspiegel, ¦quot;It is not criminal to be right-wing. There are enough left-wingers working in schools.¦quot;

I in now way condone, he should have been removed a long time ago, it is a huge failing of the Beamtin system. Unless you have been caught with you hand in the cookie jar and it is witnessed by no less than your boss, his boos, your vicar/priest along with both sets of grand parents and even then that is no guarantee you will be fired, however, the above statement does have a point.......................
12:59 September 10, 2012 by Sooney
It is true he can have his own beliefs - but when his beliefs and thoughts affects children in a school system and complaints have been filed - then who stands up for the children who cannot stand up for themselves - parents have tried - so what message is being sent?
13:20 September 10, 2012 by lucksi
True, it is not criminal to be right-wing. However, denying the holocaust and calling someone a nigger certainly are things that are against laws.
13:45 September 10, 2012 by markoneill
Holocaust denial is a crime, so why hasn't he been arrested and put on trial? If he said it in class, there is a whole classroom of witnesses to what he said. Or are schoolkids not considered trustworthy these days to give evidence in court against their teacher?
14:18 September 10, 2012 by The-ex-pat
Have I missed something, where does it say he is a Holocaust denier????
14:32 September 10, 2012 by Englishted
@ The-ex-pat

The paper said the school authorities had an ¦quot;immense¦quot; file on the man ­ since he was suspended from the Steglitz Grammar School in 2000 ­ parents had organised protests after they said he denied the Holocaust during lessons.

Glad to be of service.
16:21 September 10, 2012 by The-ex-pat
Sorry, don't get the Berlin papers this far south........
22:52 September 10, 2012 by wood artist
Somewhere there is a boundary between having a viewpoint and trying to indoctrinate your students with that viewpoint. From the sound of things, he's crossed it. More than once.

Personally I think teaching about words like "nigger" could be worthwhile, simply from the standpoint of helping students understand how the world was and how things change and evolve. I'm not sure how the German school system "teaches" the "really dark" elements of the Nazi regime, but I suspect the same sorts of things come up there. However, using a pejorative term like that in referring to a current student is clearly inappropriate and I wouldn't tolerate that for a moment.

Yes, maybe he's laughing all the way to the bank, but I'd still get him out the classroom. The money lost would be worth it...for the future.

wa
23:01 September 10, 2012 by crm114
@Expat - don't worry you did not miss anything, the article does not claim he is a holocaust denier, some parents in one of his schools claimed that he made his holocaust denial in lessons. Presumably they were not actually present and presumably his reinstatement after expulsion was due to a paucity of evidence to convict him of any crime/misconduct. Innocent until proven guilty and all that, how refreshing.
02:14 September 11, 2012 by mos101392
Knowing how rebellious I was in school, had he called me a "Nigger", I would have simply turned around and said, "yes, Nazi Schwein what do you want?

Then I'm sure he would have taken me to his boss and then he could explain himself while I gather up my witnesses.
08:28 September 11, 2012 by marvin john
I think this racial abuses and discrimination have to stop, if foreigner kids can not be free in schools in germany , is it on the street they are safe, i think that teacher has to be fired immediately for such statement, it is an indisputable fact.
11:33 September 11, 2012 by trevzns
No it is not criminal to be right-wing. However, using conservative political views as an excuse for extremist ethnic nationalism to perpetuate racial superiority is not understandable or acceptable.

Regardless of his age and Beamter status, this type of behavior should not be tolerated. Since there are no meaningful consequences in place to deal with this nonsense, It maybe a win, win situation for him.

There are many like minded groups and originations in Germany where his ignorance and insecurity issues are acceptable.
14:46 September 11, 2012 by raandy
They should put this person in the toughest school with the worst behaved students in the school.

Some years ago I was talking with the Grandfather of my wife's sister in law. He showed me a picture of himself in his SS uniform complete with a hakenkruis armband. He said the Jewish issue was all communist propaganda.
16:45 September 12, 2012 by AClassicRed
Marvin John, where does it say the student was a foreigner who was called a name? There are many children of mixed race, born in Germany, of a German parent and someone of another race who might have brown or tan skin. That's a side point, however.

Simply because it was presented by this teacher in a classroom that apparently it is permissible to call someone a racist name and get away with it, repeatedly, sends a horrible message for the next generation, the students in the classroom that believe that. I've been in Berlin and heard three guys called someone a nigger on a tram, late afternoon. I stepped up the guys, though I was alone. These were average looking German guys, youngish, early 20's who were young business professionals who looked shocked and embarrassed someone might tell them not to use racist and offensive.

I didn't doubt them when one actually apologized saying he didn't know it was really offensive. I've had a roommate, mid-50's who sometimes might refer to someone in that way, good-naturedly, as if it meant nothing. These are two examples of people who would be highly offended if you called them a Nazi or some such, but don't seem to understand the word is offensive.

People can think whatever they want, to be sure. I don't agree with neo-Nazis at all, though I can understand some of the origins of why some become more extreme than others, and actually did an extended sessions of interviews with a group from Eichwalde, Native American that I am. No, they didn't like me personally, but they felt comfortable telling me their philosphies in a moderate, informal setting. So I accept the fact there are extremes on each side I don't agree with, but they exist and have the right to within the bounds of the law.

This teacher has stepped across the line repeatedly and been allowed to, and the school system and judges who ruled to reinstate him should be ashamed of themselves though I know they'll pretentiously give a long list of why they did so and how it was the right decision.
17:38 September 15, 2012 by ROCKYF
He has a right to his own opinion , right or wrong , at least not killing folks and burning down embassys
Today's headlines
April wraps up with stormy week ahead
Lightning over Lake Starnberg, in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

April wraps up with stormy week ahead

The end of April is looking stormy for Germany with hot and cold air mixing and making for wild spring weather over the coming few days, state forecasters DWD said on Wednesday. READ () »

Germany sold €40 million of arms to Russia
Russian troops pictured in March in Crimea. Photo: DPA

Germany sold €40 million of arms to Russia

German arms sales to Russia have come under fire following the crisis in Ukraine. In 2012 Germany sold €40 million worth of rifles, pistols and armoured vehicles to the country. READ () »

Munich to get 'Tetris cube' hotel
Photo: Nieto Sobejano Architects, Berlin

Munich to get 'Tetris cube' hotel

Munich's old city centre is to receive an ultra modern addition to its skyline in the shape of a new hotel dubbed 'the Tetris cube'. READ () »

The Local List
German beer culture in 11 gulps
Photo: DPA

German beer culture in 11 gulps

Wednesday marks the 498th anniversary of Germany's celebrated beer purity law, so in honour of nearly half a millennium of hoppy history, this week's Local List tells some beer truths you may not know. READ () »

Feminist's apartment advert goes viral
Photo: Screenshot/Facebook

Feminist's apartment advert goes viral

Finding accommodation in Berlin is notoriously tricky. But one woman on the hunt might have a particularly hard time of it, with an advert for an apartment so absurd it has gone viral. READ () »

Russian spies step up activity in Germany
The Russian embassy building in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Russian spies step up activity in Germany

Russian spies are increasingly targeting potential informants in German politics and business by taking them out to dinner, according to counterintelligence services. READ () »

Jobless benefits to get leaner and meaner
Photo: DPA

Jobless benefits to get leaner and meaner

The German government is planning a shake-up of the country’s unemployment benefit system, Hartz IV, by introducing stricter rules on claimants in a move which supporters say will cut bureaucracy. READ () »

Germany's oldest woman dies aged 112
Gertrud Henze. Photo: DPA

Germany's oldest woman dies aged 112

Germany’s oldest woman died at the age of 112 on Tuesday. Gertrud Henze was born on December 8th 1901 and joked her long life was down to never getting married. READ () »

Exchange student 'murderer' stays silent
Police search the area near where Gabriele's body was found in October 2013. Photo: DPA

Exchange student 'murderer' stays silent

The alleged murderer of an exchange student in southern Germany stayed silent in the dock on Tuesday on the first day of his trial. READ () »

European Elections 2014
'If Britain goes, Europe is lost'
Hans-Olaf Henkel (r) celebrates the one-year anniversary of the AfD with leader Bernd Lücke. Photo: DPA

'If Britain goes, Europe is lost'

In an interview with The Local, one of the leaders of Germany's eurosceptic party talks about Europe's future, why Britain is a model country and why he will not work with UKIP's Nigel Farage. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
Interview with AfD - 'If Britain goes, Europe is lost'
Photo: DPA
National
Police damage own water cannon with eggs
Photo: DPA
National
Let us start work later after World Cup nights, unions says
Photo: DPA
Society
Crystal meth use hits record level
Photo: DPA
Rhineland
Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
What's the unemployment rate in your area of Germany?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Advertisement:
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,070
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd