Germany’s AfD tells pupils to report teachers who air political views

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By Alice Cuddy  & Kirsten Ripper
Germany’s AfD tells pupils to report teachers who air political views

Regional groups within Germany’s far-right Alternative für Deutschland party (AfD) are calling on students and their families to denounce teachers who air their political opinions in school.

However, their controversial efforts have hit a snag, as they claim they have been targeted by hackers.

Stefan Raepple, who represents the AfD in the regional parliament of Baden-Wuerttemberg, launched an online portal allowing students to make the claims. On Friday, it was replaced with a message saying: “Our site was hit by a hacker attack.”

Raepple’s portal followed the launch in late September of an AfD website called “Neutral Schools Online” in Hamburg.

The site says it wants to highlight the neutrality code and give students advice on what to do if it is breached.

It says examples of such breaches “range from clumsy AfD bashing, to flawed and inappropriate teaching materials, to educators kicking students with ‘FCK AfD T-shirts,’ or school notices calling for demonstrations against the AfD."

“Violations of the neutrality rule are not a trivial offence, because behind it is usually the deliberate attempt to collect students… for party political or ideological goals," it adds.

The initiative has drawn widespread condemnation.

German Justice Minister Katarina Barley wrote on Twitter that the “organised denunciation intends to set us against each other and drive a wedge into society.”

“Anyone who incites students to spy on their teachers brings Stasi methods back to Germany,” she said.

In a statement to Euronews, Saxony state's education minister Christian Piwarz said the AfD’s plan “destroys the important relationship of trust between the pupils and their teachers. Teachers should obviously be intimidated and muzzled.”

“The idea that pupils are exploited as informers by anonymously giving messages to the AfD so that they can rise as a monitoring authority on their own behalf, horrifies me. The AfD is not about plurality, but about the political control of schools. This contradicts our liberal-democratic constitution,” he added.