Administration stops verification of Berlin teachers’ tattoos
Prospective teachers must take photos of their tattoos and send them to the administration. Now the education senator has stopped the proceedings.
Berlin. The Senate education department is once again exposed to severe criticism. While the dispute over the implementation of the official appointment of new teachers is not yet over, relations with future educators are now facing massive resistance.
The trainee teachers were given a questionnaire in which they were asked to list all the tattoos. The administration asked teachers to document what part of the body the tattoos are on and what meaning they have for the person concerned. This also applied to tattoos on intimate places or other non-visible places.
The procedure is not acceptable to the Education and Science Union (GEW). “The education administration is introducing illegal introspection of civil servants by means of skin screening,” criticized Udo Mertens, head of the GEW board for civil servants, employees and collective bargaining policy. The GEW criticizes the fact that it is normal for future civil servants to be asked if they are loyal to the constitution, but that they should also strip for it, but not.
She asks the administration of education to immediately stop sending the questionnaires. “Anyway, officials have to declare their loyalty to the constitution, placing them under general suspicion is a scandal,” Mertens said. Education politicians from all factions of the House of Representatives expressed similar views and expected the consequences. The questionnaire required information on the length and width of the trainee teachers’ tattoos, and the tattoos should also be described and photographed.
The administration initially defended the procedure, but after the Berliner Morgenpost reported it online, Education Senator Astrid-Sabine Busse (SPD) stopped sending letters on Thursday evening and announced that would thoroughly revise the questionnaire. The administration adhered to guidelines for federal police employees, it was said, but may have overstepped the mark.
Hustle over tattoo verification – education politicians demand consequences
After the teachers’ union GEW, which made the process public, and the report in the Berliner Morgenpost, education politicians from the SPD, the Greens, the left, the CDU, the FDP and the AfD called for consequences during the day Thursday. “It raises questions,” said SPD education policy spokesman Marcel Hopp, who like all other education experts in the House of Representatives only saw the newspaper’s questionnaire. . “It disproportionately interferes with human rights.” The procedure is also not known to other federal states. “I hope that the Senate administration will not continue to send these questionnaires.”
The approach has also been criticized by the Greens. “It is fundamentally correct to check whether teachers are standing on the ground of the basic liberal-democratic order, but I think it is an overstatement to do so at this level of detail,” said the spokesperson for the education policy of the Greens, Louis Krüger. While it is true that staff councils were not involved in the process, as the GEW asserts, this is an additional problem and needs to be checked.
The left was also surprised by the letter from the education administration. “It can only be a mistake,” said education expert Franziska Brychcy. “Especially in a time when teachers are sought after like gold dust, examining their tattoos is counterproductive.” On Thursday, the left informed the data protection officer of the procedure and asked for a review. Apparently a line has been crossed here. If possible, an expedited procedure should be carried out, especially in the case of civil servants foreseen by the coalition. This is why the left is proposing, as has happened in other federal states, that health examinations be carried out by resident doctors, since public health workers are already overstretched by the pandemic. Instead, asking them to rate tattoos is not appropriate.
The opposition was also dismayed. “There are no words, it’s amazing,” said FDP education expert Paul Fresdorf. Who would want to apply to be a teacher if they had to undergo a skin exam first, asks the education politician. “Education Senator Astrid Busse would be wise to look at the leadership level of her home to see where those who have rammed the store into the wall for years sit.”
Tattoos have already dealt with the courts
For the CDU too, the now discontinued questionnaire represents an inadmissible violation of human rights: “It’s nobody’s business”, said education policy spokeswoman Katharina Günther- Wünsch. “The administration of education should focus on pressing issues.” For the AfD, the process of “encroachment can hardly be overcome”, said education policy spokesman Thorsten Weiß. “It is clear that any problematic tattoo should not be worn on visible parts of the body. Everything else is the private sphere of the candidates. The controversial questionnaire states, among other things: “In order to properly verify the tattoos, please take a photo of each tattoo that clearly shows the design and position on the body.
The administration first justified the action before backing down in the evening. You have adhered to the guidelines of the other Länder and the federal police. Tattoos on state officials, especially police officers, have repeatedly occupied the courts. The question was whether certain symbols indicate that a person is contrary to the free democratic order and therefore unfit for public office.
Article 34 of the law on the status of civil servants sets out the conditions for the appearance of civil servants. It states: “In particular, the wearing of certain clothing, jewellery, symbols and tattoos in the visible area may be restricted or prohibited insofar as the functionality of the administration or the obligation to behave in a respectful and trustworthy demands it. “Disclosure of intimate details is not mentioned there.