Status: 21/09/2023, 17:27 p.m.
Brandenburg's Minister of Education, Steffen Freiberg, speaks to journalists. © Michael Bahlo/dpa/Archivbild
Because of the employment of a teacher with a possible right-wing extremist background, Brandenburg's Minister of Education Freiberg comes under pressure. He reacts to it.
Potsdam - After growing criticism because of the employment of a teacher candidate with possibly right-wing extremist connections, Brandenburg's Minister of Education Steffen Freiberg (SPD) wants to make reports from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution a top priority. "The minister has instructed that he will be informed in the future about every decision in review procedures," said ministry spokeswoman Ulrike Grönefeld on Thursday on request. Until now, it has been customary for the specialist department not to provide information if, after an examination, no consequences are considered necessary.
A teacher candidate is said to have connections to the right-wing extremist Compact magazine. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution had already informed the ministry in writing about the case on July 27. But the candidate was only released from duty at the end of last week. Since 2021, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has classified the magazine as a proven right-wing extremist endeavor.
The trade union for education and science (GEW) considers the decision of the department to be wrong. In the opinion of the state chairman Günther Fuchs, the ministry should have released the teacher in the temporary civil service immediately from duty after the notification of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. "If there are justified doubts about loyalty to the constitution, then there is a need for clarification," said Fuchs. "And this clarification doesn't have to take place at school." Rather, possible consequences after the exemption would have to be examined with an open mind.
Previously, the "Tagesspiegel" had reported on the case. The report stated that a woman was completing her traineeship at a school in the district of Märkisch-Oderland, who is said to have worked several times as a presenter for the news channel of Compact magazine. According to official findings, anti-Semitic conspiracy myths and Islamophobic motifs are placed in Compact TV broadcasts.
According to the Ministry of Education, the department had decided, after research in the study seminar, not to draw any consequences under service law for the teacher candidate. She wanted to obtain further evidence of the woman's suitability – especially by asking the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.
"In doing so, the department had in mind that the teacher candidate has the right to complete her training as a teacher," said the spokeswoman, referring to the special protection under Article 12 of the Basic Law. According to this, all Germans have the right to freely choose their profession, place of work and place of education. After the provisional release of the woman, it is to be examined by mid-December whether and which civil service or disciplinary measures will be taken.
The SPD parliamentary group is calling for the case to be critically examined. "It is important that the case is carefully examined," said education politician Katja Poschmann. The question of consequences under service law must always be decided on a case-by-case basis. However, information was still missing for an evaluation.
The SPD politician demanded that the problem of right-wing extremism be taken more into account. "We all have to show more attitude," Poschmann said. "We all need to look more." Teachers are part of society. With regard to right-wing extremist incidents in schools, she said teachers could not solve the problem alone.
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A school in Burg im Spreewald had hit the headlines nationwide because two teachers had anonymously described in an incendiary letter that they were confronted with right-wing extremism, sexism and homophobia at the school on a daily basis. After that, they were exposed to right-wing hostility. Both have left school. In the meantime, the institution has a new headmaster. Dpa