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Diskriminierende Schulordnungen Beanstandung Bild von Vidhyarthi Darpan auf Pixabay
Equal rights
Art. 3

No more discriminatory school regulations!

In an alliance with several organizations, the GFF examined the school regulations of various schools in Berlin and found discriminatory regulations. Regulations such as compulsory German or a ban on the practice of religion violate the students' fundamental rights. After a complaint by the GFF, the majority of schools have relented and changed the regulations. This is a success against discrimination in schools.

Jointly with ADAS (a support center for protection against discrimination in schools) and ReachOut (a helpline against racism), the GFF examined school regulations and found discriminatory rules at more than 20 Berlin schools. Among other things, students are generally banned from speaking their first language and from practicing their religion.
Soraia Da Costa Batista

Soraia Da Costa Batista

Lawyer and case coordinator

"Schools may not, under the guise of school autonomy, pass regulations in school rules that deeply interfere with students' fundamental rights such as freedom of religion or even discriminate against them."

Complaint procedure under LADG proves effective against discriminatory school regulations

The Berlin State Anti-Discrimination Act (LADG), which has been in force since June 2021, provides a way of taking action against discrimination by public bodies in the state of Berlin, such as the police, universities and schools. By creating a right to file collective actions, the LADG reduces the burden on those affected by discrimination who do not have to defend themselves alone against discrimination by the government. As an organization entitled to file collective actions, the GFF was able to complain about discriminatory school regulations under the LADG. The majority of schools relented in the complaint process and fully amended the rules. In the case of the only partial amendment of the regulations at one school, further steps are currently being examined.

While the LADG is effective in Berlin, there is no such protection in other German states. Yet there are discriminatory school regulations throughout Germany that urgently need to be addressed.

School autonomy may not override fundamental rights of students

The discriminatory rules are laid down in school regulations and agreements between the students, their parents and the school. These include the obligation to speak German, the prohibition of head coverings, which may also include a religious headscarf, a ban on practicing religion, and gender-specific dress codes. If children and young people do not abide by the rules, educational or regulatory measures such as punitive work may follow.

The regulations discriminate against people on the basis of their language, ethnic origin, racist attributions, religion or gender and thus violate the LADG and the constitutional ban on discrimination behind it. There are insufficient grounds to justify such blanket bans in schools. The implementation of the prohibition of discrimination must not stop at the school gate.

Protecting the fundamental rights of children and young people

Children and young people have a right to education free of discrimination. This is recognized by the Basic Law and the state constitutions as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Young people need school to be a safe, non-discriminatory place for their personal development and for an equal opportunity education. For this reason, the Expert Commission on Anti-Muslim Racism Berlin has also recommended that school regulations be comprehensively reviewed for risks of discrimination. GFF keeps an eye on the regulations in the school rules and takes action against discrimination.

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