By Isabel Pancake and Sara Orlos Fernandes
Every child in Berlin should go to school. However, not all children have the opportunity to do so. Like Finnja (8), who still doesn’t have a place at school.
In its response to a CDU inquiry in the House of Representatives, the Education Senate makes it clear: “A temporary exemption from compulsory schooling due to a lack of a place at a school with a special educational focus is not permitted.”
However, the sad truth is that not every child in Berlin is allowed to go to school. Eight-year-old Finnja from Hellersdorf has autistic traits and ADHD and was soon no longer wanted in her elementary school (BZ reported).
But instead of helping her and her mother, she has been expelled from school since August! There are eleven schools in Berlin with a special educational focus on autism, one of them in Marzahn.
Exemption from compulsory education only for special reasons
How can that be? Because: According to the Education Senate, an exemption from compulsory schooling is only permitted “at the request of the legal guardian”. And then only “if there is a special reason”.
This particular reason could be, for example, “if a student is to be put in a position to give a school with a chance of achieving the educational goal through profound and extensive care and therapy, which a school cannot provide in this way to visit”.
There is still no solution for Finnja. “I find it frightening and sad that in a Germany that is so dazzling on the outside, it is not possible to school children who do not conform to the norm or to enable them to learn,” says her mother Nicole G. (37). The girl is exempt from compulsory schooling until February.
How many children in Berlin are still affected – unclear. The Education Senate: “There is no statistical recording of this.”