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Teacher sues pupil for burst paper bag trauma

The Local · 29 Mar 2012, 13:10

Published: 29 Mar 2012 13:10 GMT+02:00

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Not even a faint buzzing could be heard in the tense Düsseldorf courtroom as the trial began punctually at 11:30am on Tuesday.

The accused betrayed no sign of emotion as court officials read him the charge – serious bodily harm for recklessly popping a paper bag too close to the teacher's head.

The incident arose in the lunch break of what many thought was going to be just another normal day at the Düsseldorf high school - a school like many thousands of others in Germany.

The 53-year-old teacher asked the child to throw his paper bag – which is believed to have previously contained a bread roll, possibly with cheese or ham – into a bin, rather than littering the school yard.

According to a report in Bild newspaper, the boy then replied, "But first I'm going to bang it."

"Don't do that," implored the teacher in response. "It can cause hearing damage."

But not to be deterred from his mischievous plan, the boy orally inflated the now-obsolete sandwich wrapper, and burst it before the teacher had time to cover her ears. She then called the police.

The central issue at the trial, which thus far divides Germany's top legal commentators, remains the distance between the bag and the teacher's ear at the time of its fateful pop.

The teacher claimed the pupil snuck up behind her and held it directly to her ear, but the boy offered a different account. "The teacher was at least five metres away when the bag burst," he insisted under oath.

Three fellow pupils, who witnessed the incident, have confirmed the boy's story. They added that he apologized to the teacher, though she did not accept his contrition.

Story continues below…

The judge dismissed the teacher's claim.

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:51 March 29, 2012 by boopsie
If parents can't teach their kids about respect then the courts will have to teach them. I hope this kid's family has to pay for this little prank and that it serves as an example to his friends about how to behave.
14:02 March 29, 2012 by gremar
"Some tinnitus or head noise is normal. If one goes into a sound proof booth and normal outside noise is diminished, one becomes aware of these normal sounds. We are usually not aware of these normal body sounds, because outside noise masks them. Anything, such as ear wax or a foreign body in the external ear, that blocks these background sounds will cause us to be more aware of our own head sounds. Fluid, infection, or disease of the middle ear bones or ear drum (tympanic membrane) can also cause tinnitus." - Excerpt

She is certain that Tinnitus was derived from the bag incident?... well, "The judge dismissed the teacher's claim" and rightly so.
16:17 March 29, 2012 by boopsie
The Judge may have dismissed the claim but who is left to teach this kid about respect. Without it he will have a very hard time in life.
16:21 March 29, 2012 by Michael R
Tinnitus isn't the issue here. The issue is loutish behaviour without consequence. Whats long overdue is for students and their parents being held responsible for their outrageous behaviour in schools which is spiralling out of control, making teachers ill and destroying the learning environment of those that actually came to learn. State schools will no longer be able to function unless something is done to punish these louts, and this case is a good start.
16:23 March 29, 2012 by Whipmanager
boopsie: Are you crazy?

These comments are very strange here. A boy is a boy. Since when is popping a bag a federal crime? I think this teacher is probably anuisance and has issues with students. Investigate that. The kid didnt rob a bank, beat anyone up, witnesses say the teacher was a distance away. So he didnt do as the teacher said, but really? You think this kid is on his way to mass murdering or soemthing?

It is impressive how they got to what the contents of the bag were, is that good reporting or what? LOL
16:44 March 29, 2012 by raandy
boopsie, your not crazy, people that can not see how disrespectful this is ,are.

This 16 year old is told to pick up his litter and dispose of it correctly.He is then angered and decides to blow the bag up after being told not to.He then bangs it near the teacher.

This is not proper behavior, it is rude and disrespectful,

What kind of stupid analogy is a comparison between this an robbing a bank, or beating someone up? nimrod.
16:45 March 29, 2012 by derExDeutsche
If Obama had a lunch bag, it would have looked like that.
17:09 March 29, 2012 by Michael R
@Whipmanager...If you find these comments so strange then go discover the daily reality that teachers and good students have to put up with on a daily basis by volunteering in a state school. This isn't about popping a bag as you put it, that's just the tip of the iceberg.The issue is that loutish behaviour and parental neglect combined with societies failure to deal with it which has destroyed our state schools.One of my colleges was called a whore before being pushed to the ground, whilst others including myself have been verbally insulted or challenged to a fight, being spat at or even attacked whilst trying to break up a fight.

I'm sick to death of opinionated clueless loud-mouths like you chatting rubbish about something you know nothing about.
18:03 March 29, 2012 by leuteleute
When the youth riots come, then there is something wrong in this society.
18:06 March 29, 2012 by zeddriver

Well done! : )
19:32 March 29, 2012 by franconia
Mc Donalds hot Coffee affair? Lets try something like that in Germany , she thought! From now on , all bags in EU and maybe US will have to have an "antipopper" build in !!
20:30 March 29, 2012 by DOZ
Hopefully she can't hear the Train Whistle.
21:58 March 29, 2012 by rfwilson
@ Chango Mutney

"Does anyone know of any other way air can be put into a bag other than orally? Just wondering "

Yes, there is one other way, but I suspect it's not socially acceptable! ;-)
22:52 March 29, 2012 by wood artist
While it's possible to believe the child was being disrespectful, I think, on balance, that if the worst thing this individual does is blow up and pop a paper bag, he's not inherently likely to become a "bad citizen." Who amongst us hasn't popped a bag, and often to witness the effect upon some unsuspecting other.

I'm pretty sure this qualifies as part of "growing up" and not a "major step on the pathway to bad citizenship." I hope the judge told the teacher off, in addition to dismissing the case. Kids are still kids, and now and then they do childish things.

01:09 March 30, 2012 by dairiesman
How things have really changed. I was a teacher in a British inner city secondary school for 22 years. How I wish my only problem had been a blown-up paper bag being burst near me!

On another point of the article -" the pupil SNUCK up" Is ' to sneak' now an irregular verb?
05:55 March 30, 2012 by Barnel
Common.. Im sure it wasn't near the teacher's ear. I'm sure she would lie and say her hearing is bad, and she can lie to the doctor that checks her. In any case, students are protected by law from something like this. Send the kid home for one week that's good enough

Good articles on www.ariespost.com
09:36 March 30, 2012 by gremar
Oh geez, no, the issue is possible over exaggeration of an incident. Not that she is wrong about the shock she sustained because of the "popping", but the distance she is willing to take the issue(Suing the pupil). In the U.S. this is probably acceptable and she would have gotten through with it(My Aunt is a teacher in Florida). Germany is a different "kettle of fish". The school board could have dealt with this situation themselves.
09:34 March 31, 2012 by HerLinder
Whipmanager seems to think that "boys will be boys" so don't take it too seriously. I would think that the situation could have caused a problem, as the decibel level is quite high. there is a reason why people wear ear protection when they shoot guns, is that not correct Whipmanager? However, you are a tough man so you don't worry about your hearing.
10:55 March 31, 2012 by lodermulch
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
10:27 April 3, 2012 by thelamarvelous1

You're right about, about both accounts. Sneaked up is the real thing - snuck is informal. (Lamarvelous English)

I remember when kids would get smacked with rulers just for looking at the teachers the wrong way. So I think those who defend this kid's disrespectful behavior by saying this was an overreaction should count their blessings - it could have been worse.

My opinion is (teacher speaking) To reach students of this generation and this day and age, you have to respect them and at the same time they have to know that you can put a serious dent into their day if you wanted to - once they know that, treat them well and with respect and they will respect you.

They are looking for role models, not nagging nannies.

Some teachers get it, some do not.
11:24 April 4, 2012 by OkieinBerlin
if Obama had a douchebag, it would sound like derExDeutsche!
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