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Young teachers have to take part in a strange custom – lawyer: “That really stuns me”

2024-02-21T04:21:58.026Z

Highlights: Young teachers have to take part in a strange custom – lawyer: “That really stuns me”. Young teachers described this practice as humiliating, while another called it a “huge mess” “It was said that this could affect the result” Prof. Michael Fuhlrott is a specialist lawyer for labor law in Hamburg. He suspects such a ritual occurs in completely different countries. Following a verdict, a report can lead to severe fines and, in the worst case, even imprisonment.



As of: February 21, 2024, 4:58 a.m

By: Peter Sieben

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A strange custom in schools is causing problems for young teachers.

Labor lawyer Michael Fuhlrott speaks of “feeding” – and suspects such a ritual occurs in completely different countries.

Berlin – Rolls, coffee and orange juice should only play a role in a final exam if you are a trainee in the food industry.

And yet many prospective teachers in Germany are concerned with the question of which breakfast they should best serve their examiners.

There is a strange ritual behind it: at many schools, examinees and their trainee colleagues are encouraged to spread bread rolls on the day of the exam and to provide the exam committee with fruit, sweets and juice.

In an interview with

IPPEN.MEDIA

, a young teacher described this practice as humiliating, while another called it a “huge mess”.

Breakfast for the examiners – teacher: “It was said that this could affect the result”

Prof. Dr.

Michael Fuhlrott is a specialist lawyer for labor law in Hamburg.

© private

There are no official instructions for this ritual, but instructors often suggest that such a breakfast is simply part of it.

“It was said that this could affect the result,” says a young teacher who wished to remain anonymous.

And a colleague adds that they were advised to serve “something decent”.

Even if it is only indirectly: If in doubt, the young teachers have the choice between an examiner who is in a good mood and someone whose stomach is rumbling.

According to the GEW teachers' union, the breakfast ritual has become increasingly important in recent years.

It is forbidden, as the NRW Ministry of Education makes clear.

For good reason, says Michael Fuhlrott, a specialist lawyer for labor law in Hamburg.

“That really shocks me, it makes me grab my head,” he says in an interview with

IPPEN.MEDIA

.

“I would expect something like that in any country with corrupt systems, but not here.”

Suspicion of taking advantage of teacher examinations

From a legal perspective, the breakfast custom is not a trivial matter.

Keyword: acceptance of advantages and corruption.

It is doubtful that officials will allow themselves to be bribed with a sandwich and a cup of coffee.

But: “Here there is at least the suspicion that an advantage has been accepted,” says Fuhlrott.

Acceptance of benefits involves a public official accepting something without explicitly demanding anything specific in return.

The legal expert explains that in this context one also speaks of “feeding” - in the case of the breakfast ritual, this can be taken literally.

Following a verdict, a report can lead to severe fines and, in the worst case, even imprisonment.

“The state is particularly sensitive when it comes to civil servants.

Sure, you can accept a coffee or a ballpoint pen.

But then it stops,” says Fuhlrott.

A few years ago, a teacher from Berlin had to pay a fine of 4,000 euros because she accepted a gift from her high school graduating class.

Graduation gifts like this from school classes to teachers are common.

They are well-intentioned, but: “That puts the teachers in an unpleasant situation,” says Fuhlrott.

Teacher custom has developed into a strange vicious circle

To evaluate the breakfast thing on the morning of the exam in a completely different way.

“It's about a specific exam situation on which a career depends.

I consider the degree of reprehensibility here to be significantly greater than if a teacher accepts a farewell gift,” emphasizes the labor lawyer.

This is particularly true if the examiners even request breakfast.

In most cases, this may not even be the case - although one examiner, who wished to remain anonymous, told

IPPEN.MEDIA

that she was grateful for bread, sweets and coffee on a busy exam day.

“I also check myself,” says Michael Fuhlrott, who teaches as a professor of labor law at the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg.

“The examination office gives us a coffee and we pay for it afterwards.

If an examinee arrived in the morning with sandwiches, we would never accept it.”

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At some schools, however, this ritual has long since developed into a strange vicious circle: the examinees assume that the ritual is expected and prepare the examiners' sandwiches in the morning.

Once the sumptuous breakfast is served, some examiners may find it difficult to say no.

It is therefore all the more important that the school management stops this strange custom from the start.

Also in their own interest, because as specialist lawyer Michael Fuhlrott emphasizes: “If a school management just tolerates something like that, it is not necessarily committing a criminal offense.

But it is a breach of official duty and can, under certain circumstances, result in disciplinary consequences.”

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2024-02-21

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