School principals in Berlin are horrified by the court decision that allows Muslim teachers to wear headscarves

Karina Jehniche has the opinion that the judgement is “fatal”. The headmistress of the Christian Morgenstern Primary School in Spandau, an educational institution with a very high percentage of migrants, would not have “expected the Federal Labor Court to overturn the obligation of neutrality at Berlin schools. The judges have decided that teachers may now also teach wearing headscarves, as long as the peace at school is not disturbed.”I wouldn’t have expected that neutrality could be seen as discrimination,” says Karina Jehnichen. And she is not just talking as the head of her school when she describes the verdict as “fatal”, she is also deputy head of the Berlin School Management Interest Group (IGB). She therefore also speaks for around 300 senior educators.

For Karina Jehniche, it’s all about the headscarf symbol. For her, her problem with the judgment in her own school is most obvious: “We have students who come from crisis areas where Islam is the state religion and where there has been fighting against infidels. When such a child sees a woman wearing a headscarf, it can be impressed by it and the tolerance towards other religions decreases, said Jehniche. Especially for children a teacher is a great confidant. “We must work to ensure that all religions are tolerated. We are a multicultural society, which is precisely why a school must show neutrality”.

At the Morgenstern School “students from 49 nations are being taught”, says Karina Jehniche, “all world religions are represented here”. It is absolutely clear that one can expect “neutrality as an attitude” from a teacher. If one was allowed to wear a headscarf, other religions would now also have to become visible. But she does not want that.

In any case, she has already noticed that Muslim fathers are annoyed at meetings of parents’ representatives that the school principal is not dressed in an Islamic manner, that is, with a long skirt. Karina Jehniche has also experienced that Muslim students put pressure on female Muslim students to wear headscarves.Tilmann Kötterheinrich-Wedekind also regards the verdict as a problem, at least for his school. “We as a school have benefited greatly from the obligation of neutrality in the school peace agreement,” says the head of the Ernst Abbe Gymnasium in Neukölln, migration rate: 94 to 97 percent. “A teacher wearing a headscarf would be fatal here,” he says, “because tensions arise again and again in our school because of the mutual cultural understanding and when dealing with young girls. At the school, he says, there are many students from Turkish, Arab and Bosnian-Muslim families.

In other words, if you dress western as a Muslim girl, you will get problems when confronted by students. Many of his “very strictly conservative Muslim parents regarded a teacher with a headscarf as a positive role model,” says Kötterheinrich-Wedekind. Conversely, teachers dressed in western style are seen as a bad example.

Kötterheinrich-Wedekind has already had discussions and conflicts on the topics of prayer, sportswear or the question of how far religion is allowed to influence school. For him, these are all topics that do not belong in his school, which distracted from the actual task of the school.

In another school in the Berlin district of Neukölln, the principal is “appalled” by the verdict. The school, she says, “is also there to help students form their own opinions. Above all, it preaches tolerance towards all religions. But this is no longer clearly recognizable, she says, if someone no longer appears clearly neutral. “There are also messages of a non-verbal nature.

She also witnessed that Muslim students put pressure on Muslim schoolgirls to wear the headscarf. Teachers then intervened immediately and held discussions with the students and their parents. “But this is a very difficult and long-term process.”She is familiar with the case of a nine-year-old who told a Palestinian kindergarten teacher dressed in Western clothes: “I don’t take orders from you, you don’t wear a headscarf, you are not a real Muslim. In such a case, the peace at school was considerably disturbed. Since the boy’s parents had shown no understanding at all, the boy had to leave school. The school authorities had written in their reasoning: “Disturbance of the peace at school.

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