Neo-Nazis attack children on school trip

A teenage boy is in intensive care after neo-Nazis attacked a group of pupils on a school trip in east Germany.

Neo-Nazis attack children on school trip
Photo: DPA

The 87 pupils from Hamburg were on a trip in rural Saxony, east Germany, when the attack took place, the Welt newspaper reported.

A group of the pupils aged 14 to 15 from Goethe Grammar school snuck out of their hostel to go to a nearby village party on Friday night.

The fete itself, celebrating the hamlet of Ostrau’s 888th birthday, was advertised around the area and caught the eye of some of the pupils.

But the party was a hotbed of far right activity with the number 88 being significant in Nazi circles as H is the eighth number in the alphabet – 88 stands for HH, Heil Hitler.

Despite teachers banning them from going, the group, mostly aged around 15, were stopped by 12 men in a car park at around 3am, after enjoying the festivities, the Welt reported.

They then followed the schoolchildren through the town, until they had reached the youth hostel where they were staying. According to the teachers, three of the men came into the building with the children.

One pupil, who has not been named, told the Welt that he had woken up to use the toilet, when he heard a commotion downstairs. He entered the toilets, where the three men followed him, throwing him into a urinal.

One boy, a 15-year-old of Chinese descent, was reportedly beaten so badly that they broke his eye socket and jawbone. He was taken to hospital and has been in intensive care since Sunday.

After the attack, the neo-Nazis stood outside the building shouting “NSDAP! We will never forget”. The NSDAP, National Socialist German Workers Party, was the ruling Nazi party during World War II.

Police arrived half an hour after the attack – despite, the Welt said, the station being just three kilometres away. They have arrested nine suspects and launched an investigation.

The Local/jcw

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Bavarian teachers’ association wants to ditch traditional grades because of AI

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is posing a challenge for schools in Germany, leading the Bavarian Teachers' Association (BLLV) to call for a rapid reform of the grading system used at German schools.

Bavarian teachers' association wants to ditch traditional grades because of AI

“I believe that AI’s speedy development prevents us from continuing to slowly develop the ways in which we assess performance. We need to realise that our grading system is old school,” BLLV president Simone Fleischmann told the German Press Agency in Munich.

On Friday, the news emerged that some Hamburg students were suspected of having used AI programmes and ChatGPT to cheat in their Abitur exams. According to the Ministry of Education, there have not yet been any similar suspected cases in Bavaria.

“The way our school system works … is now reaching its limit. That has to do with the fact that we have just remained at a standstill,” said Fleischmann.

“We still want to [be able to] select and sort [students] and give grades. But in the future we will have to judge the processes and not the result,” the BLLV president added.

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But Bavaria’s Minister of Education, Michael Piazolo, is skeptical about this.

“I believe we need grades and that many students want grades. You need a record of achievement to know for yourself how you’re doing in individual subjects,” he told German press agency DPA on Saturday. 

The Association of German Secondary School Teachers (VDR) is also not convinced.

“Grades and AI are mutually exclusive? The logic behind these supposed findings is not clear,” said VDR national chairman Jürgen Böhm.

READ ALSO: ‘Room for improvement’: How Germany’s schools compare to the rest of Europe

“Grades should be abolished just because digital devices weren’t checked during exams in Hamburg? It has been the responsibility of the ministries and, ultimately, teachers to take special precautions during exams since the advent of pocket calculators that could display graphics at the latest.” he added.