Extremism: East German student councils warn: right-wing extremism in schools

Extremism: East German student councils warn: right-wing extremism in schools

A swastika on the wall or the Hitler salute: right-wing extremism does not stop at schools. Now student representatives in several federal states are sounding the alarm.

The student representatives of the six eastern German states have complained about increasing right-wing extremism in schools and called for decisive countermeasures.

“Nativist narratives, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and extremist ideas are also becoming more and more common in schools and are encountering a school community that is poorly prepared in terms of personnel, material and knowledge,” says a published joint statement by the state student councils in Berlin and Brandenburg , Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.

Swastikas and other anti-constitutional symbols or openly displayed Hitler salutes are no longer marginal phenomena in school environments in some places. The inhibition threshold is falling in many places and the willingness to classify anti-constitutional statements as legitimate expression of opinion is growing.

Modern right-wing extremism in mostly veiled forms

In addition, there is modern right-wing extremism in mostly veiled forms. “Especially in the digital space, algorithms, fake news generated in part by AI (artificial intelligence) and broad propaganda are increasingly influencing the formation of society’s opinions,” said the student representatives. Young people are particularly susceptible to becoming radicalized online.

Among other things, the students suggest strengthening history, politics and social studies lessons in order to impart more knowledge about the historical background and current threats to democracy from right-wing extremism. It is also necessary to teach how to use digital media in schools. In lessons, interdisciplinary democratic debate, well-founded political judgments and opinion formation as well as appreciative cooperation should be learned. Further training for teachers is also important.

Source: Stern

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