Every Friday, thousands of German pupils take part in the “Fridays for Future” climate demonstrations. This could now have serious consequences for some of them – they may have to stay down and repeat the year. At one Berlin Gymnasium alone 13 pupils are said to face this consequence.
One of these students reported in a social media message that she “and twelve other” pupils of the Lessing Gymnasium in Berlin-Wedding are being threatened with non-transfer into next year “if we do not go to school every Friday until the summer holidays”.
This threat was substantiated, the schoolgirl reports, because the strike is considered by the school management as playing truant and the school would not allow them to move up to the next year because they would not have been present during enough lessons.
The Berliner Morgenpost reports that the “thirteen of the most activist students” have been warned that they will not be move up to the next year if they participated in the climate strike again. The pupils in questions (15-16 years old) attend the 9th and 10th grade.
The pupils, however, are refusing to give up their participation in the Fridays for Future strikes. To protest against the school’s threat, they held a rally in front of the school last Thursday.
The school’s headmaster has commented on the cases in question on Lessing Gymnasium’s website. He already informed the pupils in February about the legal obligations and in a second letter after the Easter holidays, according to Michael Wüstenberg.
Pupils are allowed to leave the school grounds during lessons only with the permission of parents, it says. Regardless of this permission, participation in the climate strikes would still be recorded as truancy. “I think the issue of the demonstration is worth supporting. Nevertheless, we have to treat participating in this strike during lessons like any other absenteeism with regard to the register, Wüstenberg writes.