Violence in Berlin schools continues to increase with incidents involving weapons also climbing steeply while attacks on school personnel appear to be on the decline, according to a Tagesspiegel report.
In the first half of the 2016/2017 school year, Berlin schools reported 430 incidents involving “serious physical violence,” according to statistics from Berlin’s Bildungsverwaltung (Education Administration) reported by the paper. Some 50 cases of students being caught in possession of weapons were also reported after just 80 such cases in the entire previous school year.
The number of sexual assaults reported at Berlin schools doubled in the first half over the same period a year earlier to 45, according to the paper.
“The fact that violence continues to increase at our schools is an alarm signal that something is wrong in our society,” SPD education expert Joschka Langenbrinck told the paper.
The education department warned that the half-year statistics shouldn’t be doubled to extrapolate full-year figures because the two semesters are of different lengths. However, the Tagesspiegel said that the figures from previous first halves traditionally lagged the figures from the second half because students are optimistic at the start of the school year and less prone to misbehaving.
School personnel were attacked 280 times in the first half of the year, possibly a decrease from the 2015/2016 school year when a record 635 such cases were reported.
Although schools are required to report serious violence and sexual assault, they are not required to report less serious offenses such as mobbing (bullying) and insults. Still, schools do and 1,065 reports of such incidents were reportedly recorded by the education department from September to December, threatening to push the full-year figure over 2,000 for the first time ever.
“I want to encourage all schools to actively take advantage of the opportunities and measures for preventing violence,” education senator Sandra Scheeres (SPD) told the paper.