Legal information for starting school: bye, bye kindergarten

School. The school cone is finished, pens and notebooks are bought, the schoolbag is packed and the way to school has been practiced. Soon a new school adventure will begin for many ABC and I-Dötzchen shooters after nursery or kindergarten in some federal states. ARAG experts therefore provide some legal tips for beginning students and their parents.

School enrollment day – special leave?

Unfortunately, the day of enrolling one’s own offspring does not count as a special leave. The employee is then entitled to special leave or “paid leave” in accordance with Section 616 of the German Civil Code (BGB), for example in the event of marriage or the death of a close relative. So if you want to be part of your future school child’s big day, experts recommend that you take care of it early and apply for flexible time or a timely vacation. School-age siblings are also not entitled to automatic exclusion from school. Again, experts recommend contacting the school at an early stage.

Can a teacher confiscate cell phones?

Mature enough or not, an increasing number of primary school students own a mobile phone. Therefore, in primary schools, the question arises more and more often whether teachers are authorized to receive their pupils’ devices. They are, say ARAG experts. Because they are responsible for enforcing the rules of the home. Prerequisite: the student is playing with his cell phone during the lesson or is interfering with the lesson. The device is normally stored until the end of the lesson, but experts say it should be returned by the end of the lesson day at the latest. However, it is not possible to confiscate a cell phone as a penalty if a student whispers to a neighbor in class. There must always be an educational reference to the student’s misconduct. However, regardless of whether there is a cheat sheet on the mobile phone or the history of the web browser allows conclusions to be drawn about an attempted fraud, the teacher is not allowed to investigate on his own – this also applies to the school bag. The student’s mobile phone or bag and its contents are and will remain a private matter.

lots of homework?

There is no need to worry about a huge amount of homework as school law and the relevant state ordinance clearly regulate the amount of homework depending on the grade. In the first and second grade, a maximum of 30 minutes of homework time is allowed. In the third and fourth grade, it’s already 60 minutes. Experts also point out that teachers shouldn’t usually give up on homework on weekends, holidays or public holidays.

I have to pee!

According to ARAG experts, there is no law or regulation about going to the toilet in one lesson. However, going to the toilet is considered a human need and is anchored in the Basic Law (human dignity). However, school law does not require teachers to dismiss a student from class at any time for business, large or small. They need to consider the need and the situation and can decide at their own discretion – e.g. frequency, credibility or disruption of the lesson – whether to allow the student to go to the toilet.

expulsion or collective punishment

In essence, school law states that teachers have the right to take educational or pedagogical or regulatory measures in the event of a disruption to the lessons or the functioning of the school. For example, if a teacher has a persistent latecom or permanent troublemaker in the classroom, he may be expelled from the classroom. Experts point out that the definition and scope of a teacher’s activities differ from country to country.
For example, school law in North Rhine-Westphalia allows a student to be excluded from classes for one day to two weeks. In Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, it is up to four weeks. In Lower Saxony it can be up to three months. ARAG experts point out that collective punishment, that is, punishing an entire class for a school-age child, is generally unacceptable as it violates the rule of law.

Communication via social media

There are no national laws governing the use of social media in schools. However, it is not completely hassle-free. Whether and how communication between teachers and students is allowed via social media is regulated differently in each federal state.
While teachers in North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, are not explicitly prohibited from communicating with students via platforms and messaging, and teachers in Bavaria are only asked to behave appropriately, the Berlin data protection and freedom of information commissioner assesses the use of WhatsApp in a report for the year 2020 between teachers and students as illegal.
Also in Rhineland-Palatinate, contact via instant messaging such as WhatsApp and Facebook is prohibited by the state data protection commissioner. However, ARAG experts point out that teachers – regardless of the scope of their activities in digital communication – are subject to increased due diligence due to labor law provisions. If social media is allowed in a school setting, it should be used responsibly and sensitively.bye / ps

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