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Alarming data: Rise of school violence in Germany

Alarming data: Rise of school violence in Germany

Image source: © canva
Natalia Witulska,
19.03.2024 13:45

Violence in schools often takes the form of threats, insults, physical aggression, and damage to children and young people’s possessions. Regrettably, statistical data indicates a rising trend in hateful incidents. Educational institutions in Germany are reporting an escalation of this issue.

"Violence at school can manifest itself through threats, insults, forcing someone into doing something, but also through the destruction of children's belongings. Such violence is most often peer violence, but can also be perpetrated by adults (e.g. teachers)," reads Dajemy Dzieciom Siłę Foundation’s website.

The issue of school violence is a global concern. In Poland, bullying by peers can even lead to criminal charges. Presently, we are receiving disturbing data from our Western neighbours. It seems that instances of violence among students are rising within German educational institutions. According to the German Press Agency (DPA), state criminal authorities and federal ministries of education have received thousands of reports related to physical altercations, kicking, and even sexual assault.

"We have observed an increase in the presence of weapons within schools," said Sven Winkler, the president of the German Association of School Principals, in an interview with the German Press Agency (DPA). Specific weapons causing concern include knives and imitation firearms, which can be deceptively similar to real guns.

More and more cases of violence in German schools

According to DW.com, there have been several significant police interventions in German schools in recent weeks. One particularly alarming incident occurred in a town near Berlin. Officers reported that a 22-year-old individual, armed with a knife and a pellet gun, forcibly entered a school building in Petershagen before classes began. A staff member had to activate the alarm and call the police. In February 2024, a 17-year-old student attacked four fellow pupils at a middle school in Wuppertal using a knife. The assailant was apprehended and is now facing charges of attempted murder.

School violence on the rise: Urgent action needed

Numerous experts underscore that the incidence of reported and documented violent crimes has risen compared to the period preceding the COVID-19 pandemic. Statistics from the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of the Interior leave no room for doubt. Between 2019 and 2022, the number of cases where individuals fell victim to violence increased by fifty per cent. This development is surprising, particularly considering that the overall student population in general, vocational, and medical schools has only grown by approximately one per cent.

In the German capital, an average of five police interventions occur in schools daily. These interventions are directly related to incidents of violence within the educational institutions. Based on data provided by law enforcement officers, it is evident that in 2022, 2,344 cases of physical assault were recorded, and in 2023, a significant surge in such incidents was once again observed. According to DW.com, figures from the Erfurt Ministry of Education for 2023 reveal that 561 cases of bodily harm occurred in schools in Thuringia. Meanwhile, in Lower Saxony, offences against personal freedom escalated from approximately 520 in 2022 to 2,680 cases in 2023. Reasons for increased incidents of violence in schools

Staff and experts from the Ministry of Education in Brandenburg estimate that there may be several reasons why pupils and students exhibit violent behaviour. They highlight that many of these individuals likely have low self-esteem and lack self-control. When overwhelmed by negative emotions, they may externalise their feelings, often targeting their classmates as victims.

Experts associated with the Association of School Principals in Germany assert that aggressive behaviour can be nurtured by exposure to violent content, which is prevalent in both traditional media and online platforms. German educators believe that the propensity for violence among young people has increased. As part of their strategy, they aim to expand the social support network available to students.

Source: dw.com

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