In mid-July, parents received a notice of fine for the first time because their children had missed class without excuse because of a Friday For Future demo. Now the city of Mannheim has revoked the decision.
Authorities had already threatened in April, and in mid-July the first school had implemented the threats: Four Mannheim families were to pay a fine of EUR 88.50 each – the reported .
The reason: your children missed two school hours without excuse in May. Instead, the students of the Geschwister-Scholl-Gymnasium were on a Fridays For Future demo and demonstrated for more climate protection.
The reports were confirmed by both the responsible regional council in Karlsruhe and the Mannheim “Fridays For Future” organization.
School could have taken other measures
In the meantime, the city of Mannheim has lifted the demand again. The school could have taken measures other than the fines, a statement said.
The fines were only a last resort, the city said. Because there are many fine proceedings, the peculiarity of these cases compared to the classic truancy was initially not noticed. The families affected do not have to pay fines.
Fine for schoolchildren: This is how Fridays For Future reacted
According to the official Twitter account of "Fridays For Future Germany", this was the first time that a fine for participating in Fridays For Future demos was imposed. Also reported that Fridays For Future activists have not yet had to pay fines, at least in Bavaria, Berlin and North Rhine-Westphalia.
"If we – instead of fighting the #climate crisis – punish those who draw our attention to it, we are on the wrong side of the story," the activists say.
Affected students write touching letters
The Mannheim Fridays For Future movement did not want to accept the fine: The activists had announced that they would collect donations to pay the fines of the families affected. There is also one for sanctioned students online. The money is also to flow into "legal aid for young people concerned".
The children affected could not understand the reaction of their school. In a letter that is available to Mannheimer Morgen, they write: "How can a school that is named after Sophie and Hans Scholl deal with children who are interested and involved in politics in this way?"
So the authorities justified themselves
According to information from the regional council, the parents had not applied for exemption from the lessons, reports that the class teacher had informed them in writing about the consequences of unexcused absence. Discussions would also have taken place several times with students. According to the Baden-Württemberg regional council, there is no apparent reason that demonstrations take place during class time and not afterwards.
Utopia thinks: Of course, there are disadvantages for students if they miss school material. But there is a very good reason why Fridays For Future go on strike during school: This is how activists get more public attention – for themselves and their issues. And that works: For months now, climate change and climate protection have been present in all media – also thanks to Fridays For Future.
If the state sanctions the parents of those children who are politically active at a young age, it is sending the wrong signal. It would be better if politicians responded to the climate change demands of the students. Then there would be no more reason not to go to school on Fridays.
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